Lawyers’ group slams action against Kit Siang, Selangor MB’s aide

“The Pakatan Harapan-led government that purports to champion free speech seems to lack understanding of what it entails”

(FMT) – Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today criticised the government over the recent action against DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang as well as Jay Jay Denis, a special officer to Selangor menteri besar Amirudin Shari.

LFL director Zaid Malek said the police action against the duo was an affront to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“We urge the government to halt any and all investigations on Lim regarding his statement and for the attorney-general’s chambers (AGC) to withdraw the charge against Jay Jay,” he said in a statement.

He said by allowing Lim to be investigated and Jay Jay to be charged in court, the federal government was “in direct violation of the Federal Constitution and sending an unhealthy message that they are beyond criticism and reproach”.

“Citing a constitutional fact or criticising the conduct of anyone in the government is an exercise of free speech that cannot in any way be construed to be an act that is contrary to national security, public order or morality.

“The Pakatan Harapan-led government that purports to champion free speech seems to lack understanding of what it entails,” he added.

On Monday, Lim said he would give his statement to the police over a recent speech in which he spoke about the possibility of a non-Malay being appointed prime minister.

Lim said he was accused of provocation for saying that the Federal Constitution does not bar a non-Malay from being the prime minister.

“The fact that some people have taken offence to the statement cannot justify a criminal investigation,” Zaid said.

Yesterday, meanwhile, Jay Jay said he had been told to appear in the Alor Gajah sessions court on Thursday to face criminal charges over a tweet involving Melaka governor Ali Rustam.

Jay Jay was arrested last year over a police report believed to be in connection with a video uploaded on Sept 6, 2022, showing Ali’s convoy leaving a restaurant in Medan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

In the posting, Jay Jay claimed he had witnessed Ali’s convoy of “eight (police) outriders and three escort vehicles” blocking traffic on the Sprint Highway before making a U-turn, with Ali then emerging from one of the cars.

“I thought there was an important official national function. But no,” he said, claiming that Ali had been at the restaurant for a family dinner.

In response, Zaid said the law confers no special status to anyone in government, whether a governor or a prime minister, to be protected against criticism and that to criminalise such criticism was “high-handed and undemocratic”.