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Why is Harapan continuing to use BN’s muzzle?

COMMENT | Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's latest missive on the rule of law is not so much about Pakatan Harapan’s commitment to said principle but, in this writer’s opinion, more of a veiled threat against the royal establishment. Is writing this seditious? One can never tell.

That is the point of pernicious laws like the Sedition Act and the other laws that civil society groups and political operatives from Harapan like Ramkarpal Singh and Latheefa Koya (amongst others who have made public statements) are objecting to and demanding that Harapan keep its election promises of repealing such laws.

These laws are enacted to muzzle the public but, more importantly, are vital tools in the “fear box” to remind the public that whatever they say or do against the state is always under scrutiny. You can never tell what you say or do, is seditious or an illegality because these laws are there for the convenience of the ruling elite rather than any kind of traditional normative values or reasoning of a functional democracy.

Its chief aim is to instil a "them vs us" mentality through fear. These laws do not apply to them – unless they betray the party and not the state because to the fascists, the party is the state – hence we get examples like the persecution of someone like Fadiah Nadwa Fikri for saying things that the ruling political elite have said themselves .

Consider this – “Let us not be precious. The ruling elite over the decades has curtailed the power of the monarchy. The last attempt was a brazen power grab by the former Umno regime through the National Security Council (NSC) gambit. The current Pakatan Harapan grand poobah has done his fair share of rabble-rousing when it comes to the power and the role of the monarchy. When it is convenient to defend the institution of the monarchy as a sacred cow of Malay/Muslim politics, political operatives jump up and down attempting to outdo one another in burnishing their ethnic and religious credentials.”

Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy is correct when he claimed that laws such as Sosma and Poca that would ensure safety and security were “deceitful at best”. What these laws really ensure is political hegemony. What I have argued and so have many other legal and security professionals, academics across the ideological divide – some of whom were detained under these laws and political operatives – who were also detained – is that there are enough legal provisions to maintain safety and security provided a professional and impartial state security apparatus does its job without resorting to such immoral, undemocratic measures.

Far-right elements

There is this meme spreading around Harapan supporters, who now think that these laws are needed to curtail the religious and racial excesses of the Malay far right. These people are delusional. Since Harapan has come into power, what the state has done is to capitulate to these far-right elements instead of using these so-called laws which are claimed to be needed to preserve safety and security of all citizens...

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