All Cabinet Ministers on Wednesday must decide whether they want a new AG who is committed to the goal of making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” or they support the current sedition dragnet and “white terror” to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy
The time has come for every Cabinet Minister to take a stand whether he or she supports the goal as promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to make Malaysia the world’s best democracy or the reverse – supporting instead the sedition dragnet and “white terror” unleashed in the past month to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy.
The country should be spared the farce of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail announcing last Tuesday that his Chambers will review the cases of several individuals who were recently charged with sedition, including academician Dr. Azmi Sharom, followed by the outrageous response by the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that the police will not cease and desist from sedition investigations aimed at suppressing criticism and dissent.
In the first place, was Gani sincere and truthful when he said that his Chambers would review the blitz of sedition charges? Let the Attorney-General announce details of such review, who are the officers in his Chambers who are conducting the review, when the review started and the terms of reference including time-frame of such review.
In fact, Gani owes the Malaysian people a full explanation why he gave the green light for such a spree of sedition charges as well as full accountability as to why those responsible in openly inciting racial and religious hatred, ill-will and conflict have been spared from any prosecution, despite the lodging of many police reports against the culprits?
Or is Gani not in full control of the blitz of sedition charges, with someone else usurping the discretionary powers of the Attorney-General under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to “institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings” as far as the current spree of sedition prosecutions is concerned?
Is this the reason why Gani is reviewing the spree of sedition prosecutions?
The question that has been posed by the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman is most pertinent and warrants an answer by Gani.
Talib had asked whether it was the pressure from some groups rather than the strict application of the law and evidence that is behind the sedition dragnet against opposition leaders and activists.
Talib said the Federal Constitution gave the Attorney-General the absolute discretion whether to institute, conduct or continue criminal cases but that must be exercised judiciously.
“It is your call based on evidence and applicable law, not at your whims and fancies or dictated by a third party,” he said.
Talib said the position of A-G was an important appointment to the government and “The A-G must be matured and fair-minded, not emotional”.
Talib said that preferring a charge against a person was a serious matter as it would entirely change their lives.
“People will look at you differently even after you are acquitted,” he added.
Secondly, why is Zahid trying to pull the wool over the people’s eyes when he said that the police’s duty is to carry out investigations when there is a police report, and that it is for the Attorney-General’s Chambers to decide whether to prosecute after the police have sent the investigation papers to the AG’s office.
This is because there have been umpteenth cases of many openly and overtly inciting racial and religious ill-will, hatred and conflict but who enjoy both immunity and impunity from any sanction from the law and the law-enforcement authorities despite the lodging of police reports.
The miscarriage of have infected all levels of the administration of justice from selective and malicious police investigations to selective and malicious prosecution by the Attorney-General.
Presiding over such miscarriage of justice is a judiciary which is still a long way from regaining its earlier internationally-acclaimed independence, impartiality and professionalism after over a decade of assaults and subversion of judicial independence and impartiality during the Mahathir “Dark Age”.
All the Cabinet Ministers should end the farce and fallacy that they have nothing to do with the unleashing of the sedition dragnet in the past month, which has brought odium and opprobrium to the country’s international image and standing – that it is the responsibility of the Attorney-General and the Police.
They cannot be more wrong and they must not forget the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility.
Let the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a day after the 51st Malaysia Day celebrations, be remembered as an important day where all Ministers decide whether they want a new Attorney-General who is committed to the goal of making Malaysia the “best democracy in the world” or they support the current sedition dragnet and “white terror” to turn Malaysia into the world’s worst democracy.