Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 3rd September 2010:
Hishamuddin should not act both as prosecutor and judge to pass judgment that Nurul Izzah had committed the offence of sedition, dictating and usurpring the powers of the Police, AG’s Chambers and judiciary
I am shocked that the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has acted both as prosecutor and judge to unilaterally and arbitrarily pass judgment that the PKR MP for Lembah Pantai, Nurul Izzah Anwar has committed the offence of sedition for questioning the entrenched sensitive issue of Article 153 of the Constitution with her challenge to Perkasa to a debate on "Malaysia or Malaysaja?"
As Home Minister, with responsibility over the police, it is a gross abuse of power on his part to dictate or usurp the powers of the Police, Attorney-General's Chambers and the judiciary by passing judgment that Nurul had committed the offence of sedition in questioning the entrenched sensitive issue of Article 153 and therefore deserves to be arrested, charged, tried and convicted for sedition.
Police reports lodged against Nurul Izzah for committing the offence of sedition by questioning Article 153 do not mean that she had done so, and it is most irresponsible and reckless on the part of Hishammuddin as Home Minister to assume that Nurul Izzah is guilty as charged in the police reports against her.
As Home Minister, Hishammuddin must be professional and rise above party politics.
If Hishammuddin has already arrived at the conclusion that Nurul Izzah had questioned Article 153 and committed the offence of sedition, how can she expect the police, the Attorney-General and the judiciary to be independent, impartial and professional in the discharge of their respective duties?
Hishamuddin’s bias, unprofessional conduct and gross abuse of powers is evident from his media comments on Nurul’s case, as for instance in the following Utusan Malaysia report today:
“Mengulas lanjut, Hishammuddin berkata, kenyataan Nurul Izzah itu membuktikan pemimpin pembangkang tidak bertanggungjawab kerana secara terbuka mempersoalkan peruntukan itu walaupun Perlembagaan dengan jelas melarang sebarang perdebatan mengenainya atau berdepan dengan dakwaan di bawah Akta Hasutan jika ingkar.
"’Nurul Izzah seorang wakil rakyat yang silap pertimbangan tetapi sebagai rakyat Malaysia yang diamanah untuk menjaga keselamatan dalam negeri, saya akan mengambil segala tindakan perlu tanpa memilih bulu bagi mengelakkan insiden seperti ini berlaku lagi,’ jelasnya.”
In her challenge to Perkasa to a public debate, Nurul made it clear that she was not challenging Article 153 which she pointed out is an entrenched sensitive issue which is even illegal to be questioned in Parliament.
This is why she specifically proposed: “To avoid being seditious, I propose that our views are qualified as an attempt to seek clarification and not to challenge or repeal (Article 153) the Constitution.”
It is most disturbing that Hishammuddin seems to be backing those who are unreasonably and unconstitutionally equating all aspects of the New Economic Policy (NEP) meant to have a time span of 20 years from 1970 – 1990 with Article 153.
If this ridiculous and unconstitutional trend is not rebutted and stopped, a day will come when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak could be charged with committing sedition for allegedly challenging Article 153 when he unveiled New Economic Model (NEM) proposals for new affirmative action policies which are market-friendly and needs-based to consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households earning less than RM1,500 per month (of which 77.2% are bumiputeras).
The 1971 Constitution amendments prohibited questioning (though it allowed discussion on their implementation) of four entrenched sensitive issues by invoking the Sedition Act i.e. apart from Article 153, Part III on Citizenship, Article 152 on the National Language and Article 181 on the Sovereignty of Rulers.
Recently, there were various calls including by the Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam for the removal of citizenship of Wee Meng Chee for his 3-minute video rap protesting against the racist and seditious outbursts of a headmistress in Kulai.
Ali Rustam would have run afoul of the constitutionally-entrenched sensitive issue of citizenship under the 1971 Constitution Amendments.
Would Hishammuddin unilaterally and arbitrarily pass judgment that Ali had committed the offence of sedition, to be followed up with actions by the Police, Attorney-General’s Chambers and the judiciary?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor