Why is Harapan continuing to use BN’s muzzle? - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, January 05, 2019
Malaysiakini : "Among the most important objectives of Pakatan Harapan
when it was struggling to overthrow the kleptocratic government of
former premier Najib Abdul Razak was the restoration of the rule of
law." – Dr Mahathir Mohamad"I have always been of the view that the Sedition Act ought to be repealed." - Ramkarpal Singh
| 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.
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.
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 (photo above) for saying things that the ruling political elite have said themselves .
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.”
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.
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.
when people talk of the sensitivities of "all" races, what they really
mean is the primacy of the sensitivity of the majority race. This is why
such laws are only used against people who are a threat to political
hegemony and what is needed is fear and a quick removal of certain
voices from contemporary discourse.
the recent examples of some of the statements made by political
operatives and ethnic nationalists which could be considered
“seditious”; all we have to do, is look at something like the Gugusan Manjoi
incident, and realise that these laws will never be used against
instigators who commit robbery and vandalism of private enterprises in
the name of religion. Indeed what these people got were not harsh
measures from the state but rather sympathetic noises from the ruling
elite. A recap:
“This would have been an ideal opportunity
to discuss regulations on these so-called Islamic NGOs and a revamp of
state and federal religious bodies so they do not encourage an
atmosphere where religious extremists harass legally-run business and expect no sanction because they claim to be religious people.”
Minister Muhyiddin Yassin claimed this recently: “If the current laws
are not maintained, there will be those who think they are free to do
anything and threaten the country through gangsterism and terrorism.” What
if anything was the Gugusan Manjoi incident if not gangsterism and a
kind of terrorism? Did we see the political establishment claim that
these laws were needed so that religious extremism like the case above
could be dealt with? Did we see the political elite coming out in
droves, crying “safety and security” "lock these people up", using the
laws they promised to abolish? Did anything like that happen?
have often argued that terrorism – especially religious terrorism –
should be dealt with as a criminal enterprise and there are enough laws
to handle such crimes without the need for special laws that in reality
threaten democratic first principles and institutions. Indeed even in
the West such laws are used to stifle dissent.
In the Seafield
temple riots, the police were given orders to investigate under these
laws, even though there was supposed to be a moratorium on these laws.
How is that working out? I guess using these laws against Indian rioters
demonstrates that these laws work because they provide safety and
security for a certain demographic.
So if you think that the state
will use it against the provocateurs, gangsters and terrorist of the
far right, you are naive. But the good news is that you will be in good
company. Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali does not want these laws removed and so
do the Malay religious and racial far right. Why do you think this is?
they know – some of them from experience – that these laws will not be
used against them from religious or racial transgressions against the
state but rather political transgressions against Malay power
structures. For the rest of us Malaysians – Malays and non-Malays – they
will be used to stifle dissent against political, social and religious
Look, we are a country which bans books, that offer
alternative interpretations of Islam which go against official state
narratives. Which side do you think these laws would be used against,
when it comes to narratives that the state deems dangerous to the Malay
polity when it comes to flashpoint policy issues?
lawyer Syahredzan Johan – who is also the political secretary to Lim Kit
Siang - acknowledged that it would be easier to remove the law than
attempting to modify, the reality is that all these euphemisms of
removing certain aspects and other such nonsense is merely political
speak, for not doing anything to honour election promises.
bad enough but it also means not honouring the memory and sacrifice of
those who have been abused with these laws. Before the election, this
was a non-issue, in the sense that everyone in Harapan was going on
about the evil Najib regime and his pernicious laws. Now it is a
Please keep in mind that if you believe in a
flawed system, if you believe that a compromised system will go after
those who you think deserve such treatment, believe this, the system
will eventually come after you.