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Samy Vellu – why so “bloodthirsty” as to want four Opposition Leaders jailed for at least a year under OSA for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the LDP concession agreement?
(Parliament, Saturday) : Why is the Works Minister and the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu suddenly so “bloodthirsty” as to want four Opposition leaders, namely Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua of PKR, Ronnie Liu of DAP and Dr. Hatta Ramli (PAS) jailed for at least a year under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) concession agreement?
What have the four done that they must be treated like “highway robbers” and must be made to suffer the most severe form of punitive punishment, of being jailed for at least one year, if they are charged under the OSA and found guilty of unauthorized communication of an official secret?
Have they done anything akin to sabotage or imperil the national economy, subvert the national security or undermine national stability?
I do not believe that Samy Vellu, even in his most creative best, would be able to make out a prima facie case that the four Opposition leaders had done any of these terrible things in connection with he publication of the Litrak LDP concession agreement.
I went back to the news reports as to what was revealed about the Litrak LDP concession – that the LDP concession
Are these revelations so earth-shattering as to shake the government, society and nation to their very roots as to require invocation of a draconian and repressive law to jail the four for a minimum term of one year each?
In fact, astute Malaysians would have guessed the lopsided contents in the concession agreements and privatization contracts, even without sighting them.
The question is what has made Samy Vellu so “bloodthirsty” that he is behaving as if he has usurped the powers of the Attorney-General or had arrogated to himself the powers of a Super Attorney-General on toll concessions and OSA prosecutions? Why is he demanding his pound of flesh, muttering that “they will have to pay the price”?
Samy Vellu should know that anyone charged and convicted under the OSA would be mandatorily jailed for a minimum of one year, regardless of whether the offence is grave or trivial, or the motive – whether it is to betray the country by selling national defence secrets or in the exercise of the highest form of patriotism to uphold accountability, transparency and integrity and to expose corruption and abuses of power.
This was because Samy Vellu is one of the few remaining Cabinet Ministers responsible for the most shameful, undemocratic, repressive, draconian and pernicious pieces of legislation in the land - the 1986 amendment to the Official Secrets Act imposing a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence on conviction, regardless of the gravity of the offence or the noble motivation for the disclosure.
During the parliamentary debate on the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill 1986, I had called it “a Charter for Corruption” – as it had nothing to do with spies, traitors and others who sell secrets prejudicial to the defence, security and economic well-being of Malaysia, either because of mercenary gain or out of disloyalty of Malaysia.
A Prime Minister, Cabinet and Government which is serious about democracy and an open, accountable and transparent government would not have anything to do with such a draconian and obnoxious law.
In removing the discretion of judges on sentencing, the provision of mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence for any conviction under the OSA represents a major attack on the doctrine of separation of powers which Abdullah had sworn to restore in his first official speech in Parliament when he became Prime Minister in November 2003.
Without going further into the various provisions of the OSA, Abdullah and the Cabinet must take a consistente and honourable policy stand that the government will not invoke the OSA with its minimum mandatory one-year jail sentence for any conviction unless and until such a repressive and repugnant provision is repealed.
Otherwise, it will not be Khalid, Tian Chua. Ronnie and Hatta who will be on trial. On trial will be Samy Vellu, Abdullah and the entire Cabinet.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman