In turnaround, DAP MP now says wrong to use sedition law on Isma

lim lip eng

(Malay Mail Online) – A DAP lawmaker who accompanied another to lodge a police report against Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) complaining of sedition is now saying the colonial era law must not be used against the Islamist group.

In the volte-face following criticism of DAP for the apparent hypocrisy in demanding action under the Sedition Act on the one hand and complaining of its use against its own members on the other, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said Isma should not be “victimised” by the “draconian Act”.

“The (Sedition) Act is now a tool by the BN government to target opposition leader, including the late Fan Yew Teng and Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng and the latest being Teresa Kok.

“DAP as a party of principles condemns any effort to investigate and prosecute Isma for sedition,” he said in a statement today.

This was a departure from Lim’s remarks on Wednesday when accompanying Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San to lodge a police report against Isma for provoking “racial disharmony” in the country.

“I hope it is not an empty promise. I hope they seriously look into and stern action be taken against the party who make this provoking, seditious statement,” Lim told The Malay Mail Online when asked about the police’s plan to investigate the group for sedition.

On Tuesday, Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman said the influx of Chinese migrants into peninsular Malay had been “a mistake” that must be rectified, but stopped short of saying how this could be achieved.

He said that the ethnic group were considered intruders into Malay land, and had been brought by British colonialists to oppress Malays.

Today, Lim claimed that there were sufficient laws to address the complaints against Isma.

“The provisions of the Penal Code are more than adequate to allow appropriate action against those who attempt to make racist statements or threaten national harmony.”

DAP MP Kok this week became the latest opposition member to be charged under the Sedition Act, two years after Putrajaya promised to do away with the colonial era law that critics say is used to silence dissent.

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Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Malaysia Day address in 2011 pledging to afford Malaysians more civil liberties, Putrajaya has repealed the Internal Security Act, lifted three Emergency declarations, and introduced the Peaceful Assembly Act.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

But lawyers have urged for the new law, if it comes to pass, to provide greater leeway towards freedom of expression.

They contend that anti-government and even racist views must be protected under provisions for free speech as long as they do not incite violence.