Posted: 20 May 2014 10:50 PM PDT
It is that silly season again, when Umno gets in a tizzy over more evidence that its grand-sounding statement that Umno is Malay and Malay is Umno is just that, a statement and nothing more.
That umbilical cord between Umno and the Malays was cut a long time ago. And yet they still pretend to be the vanguard of the Malays.
Now, they are feigning indignation that Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud is contesting the Teluk Intan by-election on a DAP ticket. She has been called an ingrate and a traitor. The sheer hypocrisy of the name-callers who tell Malaysians that we should be forever grateful to them.
In keeping with the Umno spirit, the Malaysian Insider offers five reasons we must “tabik” Umno politicians.
1) We must be grateful to Umno because they have blurred all the lines between right and wrong; and wiped out the offence of corruption. There is no more moral quandary thanks to Messrs Najib, Muhyiddin and Mahathir.
Malaysians can live beyond their means, cheat on taxes, buy cars and houses on ill-gotten gains and feel no remorse or guilt. Why? Because all Umno leaders do so. We repeat, all.
There is not one cabinet minister who will pass a lie detector test on how he or she accumulated their wealth and all will fail spectacularly even the most cursory check by the MACC on living beyond their means.
From classic Porsches to apartments in tony suburbs in London, they have it all. So, Malaysians must be grateful to them for showing how to live the good life without a conscience.
2) We must be grateful to Umno for showing us that family is important. Nothing must trump kin in the award of contracts, concessions to sons, daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters, brothers, nephews. You get the picture by now.
So, we have the son-in-law of a senior Umno minister who is the proud owner of a super expensive bio-metric concession; a youngish son-in-law of another senior Umno minister who has a sweet heart deal; a brother of another senior Umno minister who is doing extremely well as a broker for foreign labour.
And then there are the countless children of Umno politicians who have suddenly become very rich individuals, some on the list of the richest men in Malaysia. And we have not even started on the First family and their kin.
So, thank you Umno for showing us that family is important.
3) We must be grateful to Umno because it is no longer an object of derision to spew nonsense in Malaysia; to speak with a forked tongue or to flip-flop on anything.
Ahmad Maslan, Rithuan Tee, Hishammuddin Hussein, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Ahmad Said… To steal a line from a famous budget airline: Now everyone can talk rubbish.
4) We must be grateful to Umno because they have demonstrated how to build up something with sweat and tears over decades and break it up overnight with wayward words and actions.
Granted, the Umno of old played an important role in building up Malaysia but somewhere along the way the culture of rent-seeking, the influx of morally-bankrupt individuals and a surge in chauvinism and fear of losing power combined to turn the ruling party into a wrecking ball.
To cling on to power, Umno has damaged institutions from the judiciary to the police, divided Malaysia along racial and religious lines and destroyed this blessed country. So, thank you for damaging this blessed country.
5) We must be grateful to Umno for charting policies and plans that allowed Malaysia’s education system to be where it is today: in the abyss.
Our primary schoolchildren are lagging behind their counterparts in Vietnam; our universities are non-existent in regional or global rankings; our graduates can’t speak or write proper English and these days, the entry of a product of the education system into Harvard is as rare as the prime minister’s presence in Parliament.
So, thank you Umno. We are grateful.
Posted: 20 May 2014 10:49 PM PDT
There are enough laws to prosecute those who make disparaging racial and religious remarks but selective investigation and prosecution is a cause for worry, a former attorney-general and lawyers said.
Insisting that the Sedition Act be removed from the statute book, they said the law on sedition was stacked against an accused and it gave the prosecution an upper hand in obtaining a conviction.
They said this in response to Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam’s call to Putrajaya that the Sedition Act be repealed and replaced with a National Harmony Act as promised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in 2012.
Hasmy said recently, several opposition politicians had been prosecuted for allegedly making "seditious remarks" but the Suhakam chairman noted that there were other laws which could have been used to handle such matters.
Hasmy (pic, left) said Suhakam recognised that freedom of speech had its limits but Putrajaya must uphold the principle of equality.
Former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said there was no point enacting new laws when the implementation was questionable.
“Every person is equal under our law. To be effective, all laws must be enforced fairly ,” said Talib who was the A-G between 1980 and 1993.
He said these days many were charged with sedition and there was a public perception of selective prosecution.
Talib said he had framed charges against a few individuals under the Sedition Act but it was done fairly to obtain a conviction.
He expressed reservation on the prosecution of DAP national vice-chair Teresa Kok over her controversial satirical video “Onederful Malaysia” last February.
“Is this case a suitable benchmark for sedition in this country?” he asked.
Talib, who is also a former Suhakam chairman, added that there were also adequate laws to maintain public order and national security.
Criminal lawyer Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu said the prosecution of opposition leaders for sedition only lent support that the law was used to muzzle legitimate dissent.
He said Putrajaya would have done its homework before Najib announced the repeal of the law.
“Yet, the public prosecutor sees it fit to charge opposition leaders and those against the establishment over the past one year."
He said the conduct of current Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail ran contrary to the promise made by Najib.
Lawyer Edmund Bon (pic, right) said there were sufficient provisions in the Penal Code and also the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Act 1988 to act against those who used race and religion to make hate speech.
“I am for responsible freedom of speech but against using the Sedition Act,” he said.
Bon said under the sedition law, it was a presumption that the accused was responsible for inciting hatred when the burden of proof in criminal law was always with the prosecution.
“During trial, the prosecution need not prove intention of the accused and this makes it easier for them to secure a conviction."
Lawyer Abd Shukor Ahmad said the intention of the sedition law, which originated in England, no longer existed.
“It was enacted to curb anyone from making derogatory remarks against the state during the reign of absolute monarchy,” he said.
Shukor said the law had lost its relevance in a parliamentary democracy and open government system.
“We are still stuck in a time warp if the law remained in our statute book,” Shukor said, adding that the legislation was against basic rights of citizens to criticise their elected government or offer differing views.
Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said individuals would be reluctant to make hate speech using race and religion if they were reprimanded severely by the media, community and political leaders.
“These individuals will think twice to use race and religious card to champion an issue,” he said.
Paulsen, however, lamented that these individuals became bolder because they obtained tacit support from politicians and the mainstream media.
He said offenders could be charged under the Penal Code as it gave them a fair level of playing field in putting up a defence unlike the Sedition Act.
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