Use the Sedition Act fairly or not at all, says DAP


(The Malay Mail) – Called hypocrites for demanding action against Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) for sedition, DAP leaders yesterday asserted that the call was intended to highlight the selective use of the Sedition Act against the opposition.

The DAP lawmakers contend that the police reports made against Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman for allegedly “threatening national harmony” was also meant as a challenge for Putrajaya to demonstrate it was not abusing the colonial era law to stifle political dissent.

“Prove this or else abolish it, because the Act is an abuse of human rights,” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said yesterday.

“The Sedition Act should not be used at all on anyone as there are other laws in the Penal Code that can be used, but they have abused and misused the Act to prosecute their political opponents,” Lim added.

Despite the reports lodged by party members in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Puchong MP Gobind Singh stressed that the DAP is still adamant that the Act must be abolished over the allegations that it was being used to silence Barisan Nasional’s (BN) political opponents, especially leaders for the rival Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact.

“When we ask them to charge Isma, it was a challenge to them to show that they are not using the Act exclusively to prosecute their political opponents,” he said.

He pointed out that the colonial era law was an outdated piece of legislation that was intended to suppress any opposition against British rule.

“Looking at how things are moving now, we can see that PR leaders who spoke up against the government are being charged under the Act while there are many others who have run afoul of the Act and yet, no actions were taken against them,” Gobind said.

A commonly cited example of authorities’ apparent inaction is the threat made by Datuk Ibrahim Ali, the president of Malay rights group Perkasa, last January to burn copies of the Malay-language bible containing the word “Allah”, the Arabic word for God.