Monday, September 15, 2014
Did AG failed to properly advise Najib on the implication of lifting EO?
At the Pengkalan Kubor by-election nomination, PAS sponsored group, Royalti were in red parading an effigy written the words “Tolak Akta 750”. The group is seeking all states to reject the Malaysia Territorial Sea Bill 2012 or ACT 750 tabled in Parliament on April 18, 2012.
They argued since all law passed and gazetted related to ownership of continental shelf enacted during the period of emergency May 15, 1969 to February 20, 1971, are null and void since the lifting of emergency on November 24, 2011. The law enacted to enable Malaysia conform to UNCLOS, need state endorsement before it could be enforced. [Read Suara Sabah here]
An immediate reply to PAS is needed although Dato Takiyuddin claimed BN would be deemed as contemptuous of the court should they do so. Naturally, they justify their ceramah attack on Petronas as acceptable.
The Attorney General (AG) may insist that there are Constitutional provisions to allow laws enacted by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong during the NOC (or MAGERAN) period but the damge is done. The rush for political expediency to lift EO and repeal ISA had left room to dispute the existing equilibrium of law and order.
Was the Government and in particular, AG sloppy and reckless in repealing ISA and lifting the EO in 2012?
Recently, there was a series of clampdown on offenders of the Sedition Act. Suddenly, when students and lecturers demonstrated against the charging of Dr Azmi Shahrom of University Malaya for sedition, AG seems to make a turnaround to say he is reviewing the charges.
Azmi even received support from PEMANDU Minister, Dato Idris Jala who echoed the opposition argument that this is curbing academic freedom. It only shows a naivety on Idris part.
He usually used populist arguments and at times, is provocative against the establishment. Too understand Azmi’s offenses, do refer to this brief in MyMassa here.
Many believed the sedition clampdown came about after the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and AG was questioned by 89 UMNO Heads of Division in a closed door meeting for the slackening state of security and public order.
AG may have been reckless to undertake the seditious charges out of anger. Or it could have been done as a number on the UNMO Heads?
The dispute on laws enacted under the Emergency Ordinance argument did not came about from PAS but was first raised by someone from his home state, Sabah Chief Minister, Dato Musa Aman at the Sabah state assembly recently on July 14-16, 2014. [Read here]
Does that mean that certain charges which include clauses incorporated into the 1948 Sedition Act was made during the 1969 emergency thus is now null and void?
The 1948 Sedition Act had introduced a clause in 1971 to include questioning the status of Sultan as ruler, Malay right, Islam as religion of the federation and citizenship status of non-Malay Malayans as offense. Could AG had been influenced by Musa Aman’s argument?
When ISA was repealed in 2012, there is a strong perception that the decision made by Prime Minister, Dato Najib to appeal was done in haste.
Then Minister for Home Affairs, Dato Hishamuddin had asked for NGOs to give their suggestions to improve the ISA. Perkasa then had suggested that the power to detain is taken away from Minister and left to a committee of security experts.
As advise by few which are believed to be AG, Dato Nazri Aziz, Dato Omar Omar and Dato Idris Jala, Dato Najib made a sudden announcement to repeal ISA and lift EO. He also promised to repeal the Sedition Act.
This is the promise demanded by Bar Council, Human Rights group, and opposition on Dato Najib. It is also the argument used against the recent clampdown on Sedition.
The release of ISA detainees in 2012 not not only released the political detainees in Kemunting but also the hard criminal detainees in Simpang Renggam. That lead to a new gang war to regain coontrol on lost turf that resulted in stories of gang war related death for 2 months.
That should have made the government realised the danger to public life following the rush to repeal ISA and EO but Dato Zahid Hamidi reaffirm that ISA will not be reinstated upon assuming the position of Home Minister.
There is an interesting twist to this series of police reports on seditious remarks made for the last few years.
Few months back, AG made a statement to consider charging a racial slur made against Penang state assemblyman, Ng Wei Aik. Wei Aik is remembered for asking Mamak operators to “balik negeri.”
Police and AG was perceived as being too swift to charge Malay offenders for seditious.
In the case of Kiki Kamaruddin that was was made famous by a viral video of her in moment of anger after the accident, the time between the incident of causing harm and damage to charges and sentence to less than a month.
Whilst, police could not find the Chinese, who had abused a Malay pickpocket on video with his hands tied.
Since before the last general election, there had been a growing resentment from Malay pro-BN voters with Dato Najib’s tendency to appease Chinese schools, and left wing liberal demands.
The repeal of ISA and uplifting of EO had been attributed to the increasingly vocal and abusive words against the establishment and public institution.
Off late, they are pushing the envelopes to challenge the prohibition to question Malay and Bumiputera special rights, Islamic status as religion of the federation, and Sultan as ruler, and treasonous offences like seeking Sabah and Sarawak seccession from Malaysia.
There had been rampant insulting statements and abuse made against Islam, Malay, and Pribumi of Sabah and Sarawak on Facebook and other online media. In response, counter abusive language are made against Chinese, Indian/Hindu and Semenanjung.
The current abuse of the new openness is not conducive to nation building.
Some 191 UMNO Divisions had called for the revival of ISA and maintaining the Sedition Act at the UMNO Division Meeting. Few UMNO leaders have express the opinion that the Sedition Act should remain.
It is a strong message that the UMNO grassroot is not together with PM on this liberalism aspect of transformation. The existing SOSMA is being viewed as no bite to combat subversive security threat from within the country and foreigners.
Already, there is growing concern on national security arising the third incident of incursion and kidnap by Suluk fighters at the Lahad Datu and Tawau districts.
Dato Najib had to reaffirm his promise to repeal the Sedition Act but he has to convince his own voters that the National Harmony Act is not as harmless as SOSMA.
Few former top police officials have expressed the opinion that the preventative nature of ISA is non-existence in SOSMA and the burden of proof will not enable police to address subversive threats.
In the latest incident, one former ISA detainee and PAS member released due to the repeal of ISA died participating in ISIL jihadist in Syria. Some 300 Malaysians are believed to have participated and on their return, they are part of terrorist cells ready to take up arms against the country.
Read Bigdogdotcom here.
For the time being, Dato Najib had taken the safe position to review that the Sedition Act and cabinet had not made a decision.
There is comforting words that necessary elements of Sedition Act will be incorporated in the National Harmony Act. Heard it will include seditious words written in cyber space. That will be only be good till Dato Najib gets threatened by the left wing which claimed they have support of 120 NGOs.
The other side basis to oppose ISA or Sedition Act is merely on human rights argument. They are blinding the public from public safety and security matter. The idealistic freedom they aspire can only be achieve in a society that is mature in their politics and have clear sense of priority in matters of national interest.
At one time, DAP was loudly criticising police on perceived rising crimes. But, they are still not happy when ISA was abolished and criminals released. DAP and PKR lawyers were seen defending widely known hardcore criminals.
Which ever is his next move, Dato Najib must get proper legal advise and get his political and policy priorities on the right balance. The sedition law is about preserving the social contract and needs the blessing of the Royal Counsel of Rulers.
Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said Article 159 (5) of the Federal Constitution, which governs constitutional amendments, says that amending or repealing the law under Article 10 (4) requires the Ruler’s consent.
The current legal adviser had failed the country on issues of scenic bridge of Johor Baru and losing Pulau Batu Putih to Singapore, yet he had been kept 5 years longer than he should. Five years ago, Dato Najib just assumed the Prime Minister post from Tun Abdullah.
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