Gani Patail should explain why the sedition blitz has stepped up in pace and intensity after his Sept. 9 pledge to review the slew of sedition prosecutions
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should explain why the sedition blitz to invoke a climate of fear and repression has stepped up in pace and intensity in the past three weeks since his pledge to review the slew of sedition prosecutions.
Gani had said on Sept. 9 that those charged under the Sedition Act, including law professor Dr. Azmi Sharom, were “currently having their cases reviewed”, and he described the review “a normal procedure”.
Is Gani also implying that the intensification of malicious and selective sedition prosecutions and investigations against Opposition leaders and activists during the tenure of such a review is also “a normal procedure”?
Gani said on Sept. 9 that the final decision on the review of sedition prosecutions will be made “soon”.
Can Gani explain how soon is his “soon”? Could it be as long as months and even years, until he steps down as Attorney-General?
In fact, nobody knows whether Gani is serious about such review of sedition prosecutions, who are undertaking the review and whether it has even started.
Such secrecy is totally against the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Transformation Programme promising accountability, transparency and an open government.
The Prime Minister should make a ministerial statement when Parliament reconvenes next Tuesday, Oct. 7 to inform MPs of the progress of the Attorney-General’s review of the sedition prosecutions as well as the state of his promise in 2012 to repeal the Sedition Act.
Increasingly, sedition developments have become a daily staple obsession in Malaysia, as if Malaysians have become the most “seditious” people in the world – and Malaysia would undoubtedly qualify to be the world’s most “seditious” nation going by the number of sedition prosecutions and investigations under way.
The last three days provide examples of such dubious infamy – starting with the police hauling up Dr.Abdul Aziz Bari of Universiti Selangor for sedition investigations (the second academician to fall under the sedition dragnet after Prof Azmi Sharom of University of Malaya), followed by the arrest of law graduate Dalbinder Singh Gill in Penang for sedition in connection with his Facebook posting, and the charging of a NGO leader A. Rajaretinam under the Sedition Act for making seditious comments against the Indian Muslim community and the Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma).
Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas) secretary-general S. Barathidasan is right in condemning the authorities of practising double standards as the police have not acted on their complaints against groups like Perkasa and others for making seditious remarks.
The administration of justice has recently suffered serious stain as it had been been afflicted by the dual sins of selective and malicious prosecution by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and selective and malicious investigation at the police level.
As the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court yesterday allowed law professor Dr. Azmi Sharom to challenge in High Court the constitutionality of his sedition charge and the Sedition Act, will Gani set an example of respect and upholding the rule of law by halting all sedition investigations and charges, as well as suspending all pending sedition prosecutions, until the outcome of the challenge on the constitutionality of the Sedition Act?