Gani Patail – what has happened to your Sept 9 promise to review the spate of sedition charges?
The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s recent explanations have only reinforced public opinion that he has abused his discretionary powers and guilty of double standards in not prosecuting Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali for his threat to burn the Bible while going on a spree with blitzkrieg of sedition prosecutions against Pakatan Rakyat leaders, activists and intellectuals.
Datuk Stanley Isaac, who was formerly head of prosecution in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, said Gani’s reasoning that Ibrahim’s threat had no seditious tendency and that Ibrahim had “no intention to offend or provoke” are “flawed in law” and had not allayed public discontent over the AG’s decisions.
Isaac said it “boggled” “his mind how the AG could excuse Ibrahim on grounds of his good intention when the law says otherwise and that it also “boggled” his mind how burning the bible would defend the sanctity of Islam.
Gani’s explanations also prompted former Court of Appeal judge, K. C. Vohrah, who had been with the AG’s Chambers for 16 years in the 70s and 80s, to write a second public letter on the controversy, saying that he was “troubled” by the AG conflating two processes –the court process and the process where the AG had to decide whether to charge a person under the Sedition Act.
Vohrah reiterated that the Sedition Act is an oppressive law where intention is irrelevant, and from the Malaysian cases, there can be no defence of truth, presence of an innocent or honourable intention, absence of consequent harm, or a lack of possibility or potential for consequent harm.
Vohrah asked whether the AG had caused a study of why sedition laws in other Commonwealth jurisdictions have either been repealed or not used.
Gani had said in a statement on Sept. 9 that the Attorney-General’s Chambers was reviewing the spate of sedition charges preferred in court.
Can Gani explain what has happened to this review of the sedition cases as it is almost two months since his announcement of a review?