To end Nancy’s agony, the Cabinet tomorrow should (i) reaffirm Najib’s pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and (ii) drop all sedition charges in court
For the past ten days, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri has been at the receiving end of national brickbats, scorn and even opprobrium for her outrageous parliamentary answer to the Penang Chief Minister and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng that Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible as Ibrahim was defending the sanctity of Islam.
Nancy added fuel to the national firestorm ignited by her answer when she ill-advisedly sought to clarify later with an even more outrageous justification – that Ibrahim’s action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.
These are undoubtedly the worst ten days in Nancy’s political life.
To end Nancy’s agony and ordeal, the Cabinet tomorrow should step in with two decisions, firstly to reaffirm the pledge given by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2012 to repeal the colonial Sedition Act; and secondly, to drop all sedition charges and prosecutions currently in court.
The Cabinet should acknowledge the national and international outrage at the selective and discriminatory manner in which the Sedition Act had been used in the recent past to stifle legitimate criticism and dissent, whether at the level of police investigations or the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
As a result, Malaysia has suffered serious damage in international esteem and repute whether for respect of human rights or the quality of the administration of justice, which are going to be adversely reflected in major drops in Malaysia’s rankings in a whole spectrum of human rights, rule of law and justice indices in coming months and years.
If Malaysia is serious in wanting to join the rank of the developed countries in the year 2020, we cannot be indifferent to these developments as they concern the qualities and conditions which determine whether a country can be regarded as a developed nation.
Cabinet Ministers should not mock or scorn the nation’s lawyers for the Bar Council’s historic Walk for Peace and Freedom in opposition to the Sedition Act but should give it serious consideration and put the Bar Council’s memorandum on the Cabinet agenda tomorrow.