Malaysiakini Letter

Sedition Act 1948 has outlived its purpose

Gerard Lourdesamy  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The blatant and oppressive action of the Royal Malaysian Police in raiding the offices of malaysiakini and confiscating computers and servers o­n its premises is an affront to democracy and freedom of the press as understood by the majority of citizens of this country.

It is even more shocking that the State in the 21st century can sanction such an act based o­n the inherently undemocractic and archaic provisions of the Sedition Act 1948, which offence has been abolished in many countries throughout the Commonwealth.

What is even more perplexing is the attitude of the police in reacting with such speed and force to the police report made by Umno Youth concerning a letter

published by malaysiakini , which in my opinion was neither seditious nor offensive to any particular race or religion.

The whole thing smacks of o­ne hidden agenda - namely, to shut down malaysiakini before it does more 'harm' and 'damage' to the entreched powers-that-be.

One wonders if the police are indeed acting in the interests of preserving law and order or merely taking instructions from their political masters.

Numerous police reports have been made against politicians, parties and institutions involving personalities from the government and ruling party and yet no action ever seems to be taken o­n these reports.

Worse still, these reports are just left to idle in the mire of so-called pending police investigations which tend to stretch to the trump of Doom!

In fact Umno Youth itself should be the subject of police investigations for allegedly utterring seditious words when (some supporters of) the movement threatened to burn down the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, bathe their keris in the blood of minorities (who incidentally are also citizens and have contributed greatly to its progress and prosperity) and using unmentionable words to describe the Chinese community as a whole.

Yet when faced by such a blatant provocation and breach of the law, the police in their wisdom decided to remain silent.

The same can be said about reports made by the opposition parties, non-governmental organisations and even ordinary people victimised by powerful interests, personalities and corporations.

A good example would be the poor Indian plantation workers and homeless squatters. Their reports, o­ne suspects always ends up in that growing category of cases called "no action to be taken". And to question the police could result in a prosecution for criminal defamation or sedition.

It is about time that the police faced the public scrutiny of a Royal Commission of Inquiry before right-minded persons start saying that "something is rotten in the State of Bukit Aman".

Such an external review of the operations of the police should cover not o­nly allegations of abuse of power and corruption but also personnel matters, recruitment policies, promotions, management and administration. The remit of any such commission should also extend to cover legislation such as the Police Act 1967.

For a country aspiring to developed status, social, economic, scientific and technological advancement, it is indeed a shame that medieval and ancient practices not seen since the days of the notorious Star Chamber in England of the 12th and 13th centuries are being faithfully resorted to by a government that claims to be a model Islamic state that practises and defends democracy, fundamental liberties and human rights.

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