Kok’s sedition charge shows Putrajaya’s wires crossed, ex-MCA VP says

Gan Ping Sieu

(Malay Mail Online) – The decision to charge DAP MP Teresa Kok under the Sedition Act despite repeated pledges to repeal the colonial era law sends “incoherent signals” about Putrajaya’s intent, former MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu said today.

Gan pointed out that even after Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s vow to replace the controversial law with a National Harmony Act, the Seputeh MP has joined a growing list of opposition lawmakers and activists charged with sedition since the prime minister promised in 2012 to do away with the law as part of reforms to provide Malaysians greater liberties.

“The recent prosecution of Seputeh MP, YB Teresa Kok under Section 4 (1) (C) of the Act yesterday for uploading a satirical video titled ‘Teresa Kok: Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014’ is, again, sending an incoherent message to the public.

“Whilst YB Teresa’s appearance in the satirical upload is, to me, a production in bad taste, whether it amounts to seditious conduct is highly questionable,” Gan, who heads the Centre for Better Tomorrow, said in a statement today.

Gan also joined opposition lawmakers in spotting “selective persecution” in the sedition charge for Kok and rivals of the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, and reminded the Attorney-General (AG) of his duty to ensure such abuses do not occur.

Kok yesterday became the latest opposition figure to be targeted with the Sedition Act, after she was charged over a satirical Chinese New Year Video in which she is alleged to have insulted the country’s armed forces and education system.

The Seputeh MP’s 11-minute satirical clip took potshots at topical issues including the education system, and had riled up government supporters who interpreted it as an attack on Malaysia and its leaders.

Earlier today, DAP accused the AG of abusing the Sedition Act to silence opposition leaders, after juxtaposing Kok’s charge with the apparent inaction over pro-establishment figures accused of fomenting public hate.

Since Najib’s Malaysia Day address in 2011 pledging to afford Malaysians more civil liberties, Putrajaya has repealed the Internal Security Act, lifted three Emergency declarations, and introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act.

But the Sedition Act remains effect and continues to be applied nearly two years after the prime minister said it would be abolished.

“It is time for the prime minister to carry out this long outstanding pledge in the interest of the country,” Gan said today.