Friday, May 20, 2011

Anwar's principled position against ISA, Sedition Act .... Will Pakatan Rakyat take a similar stand?

At last, Anwar Ibrahim has come out with a principled stand - and hopefully all Pakatan Rakyat component parties and other Opposition parties, including those parties in BN that are for human rights and justice should also adopt the same.

We should not call for the ISA and/or any other Detention Without Trial Laws to be used against any person - irrespective of how 'hurtful' a statement he/she makes - and this is because we are for freedom of speech, expression, opinion and peaceful assembly. We should be consistent in our position that these are bad laws that should all be repealed immediately.

Likewise, we should not be calling the police to stop, arrest, detain and/or charge persons who exercise the right to protest and peaceful assembly even if it targeted against PR State governments, Pakatan Rakyat and/or any of its parties, or personalities. It would be a contradiction to our position that all laws and/or provisions of laws that deny persons the right to peaceful assembly and protest be repealed. 

It is also wrong for us to be calling for the revocation of printing/publishing permits and/or banning of certain media agencies from certain functions that are open to the media - for its a violation of our our call for press freedom.

It is also wrong for us to be calling for action to be taken against certain bloggers, twitters, websites....because we are angry and/or not happy with what they said. 

We should not be calling for de-registration of certain societies, associations, .... as this would be against freedom of association. 

It is OK to call for a boycott of certain publications, persons, etc.... it is OK to come out with statements expressing our feelings and disagreements - but not call on the Malaysian government and/or the police to use the powers given under the very same 'bad laws' that we want to be seen deleted from our body of Malaysian laws...

In the past, sadly some of the Opposition parties and personalities have called for the utilization of these same 'bad laws' against those who said or did things that made them angry...unhappy. The past is the past...and this must be stopped... and we must act 'differently' from the government of the day - and demonstrate that we are truly principled and will not advocate the using of any anti-freedom anti-rights laws even against the worst of our 'enemies'....

Beware also the 'tricks' of government in trying to get support for new laws that will curtail freedoms and rights.... There has been talk that there may be new laws to 'control' freedom of expression though the internet... and, I wonder whether the highlighting of 1 or 2 blogpost about this whole "Christian PM...official religion of Malaysia' issue which generated much 'anger' and reaction was just another attempt to convince Malaysians that we do need laws to 'control' freedoms now available in cyberspace... No to 'internet' control and censorship laws....

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim does not support calls for sedition laws nor the Internal Security Act be used against Ibrahim Ali, the leader of Malay right-wing group Perkasa.

Anwar said that Malaysians must, instead, collectively decide whether they were willing to condone the incitement of religious or racial hatred by Perkasa and other right-wing groups.

"People who are angry with Ibrahim asked for him to be charged with sedition or ISA. I don't," he said in an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini yesterday.

NONE"As a matter of principle, I don't support ISA or the Sedition Act and therefore I do not condone the use of these (laws), even as a temporary measure.

"(But) should a civilised country, after half a century of independence, condone these sorts of sentiments?"

Ibrahim, who is also Pasir Mas parliamentarian, had come under fire for calling for a 'crusade' and 'jihad' (holy war) against Christians, who were accused of trying to undermine Islam's position in Malaysia.

His remarks last Saturday at a 1Malaysia event was in response to a heavily-refuted Utusan Malaysia's report that a group of church leaders had taken an oath to make Christianity the country's official religion and to install a Christian prime minister.

'Ibrahim singing gov't tune'

Both the opposition Pakatan Rakyat and some BN leaders have called for Ibrahim to be punished.

However, Anwar said that while Ibrahim could investigated under laws other than ISA or the Sedition Act, he believed that no action would be taken against the vocal MP because such incitement was condoned by the ruling regime.

"There are laws to investigate (Ibrahim), but how do investigate when you know it is being promoted and supported by the ruling establishment?" he asked.

On Tuesday, de facto law minister Nazri Abdul Aziz told Malaysiakini that it would be unfair to take action against Ibrahim as he is only one of many people who utter seditious comments lately.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also skirted the issue, dismissing the Independent MP's views as not representative of the majority of Malays and Muslims in Malaysia.

Ibrahim: I said 'jihad' for shock value

Meanwhile, in a statement late last night, Ibrahim sought to clarify that he was using the word 'jihad' to shock the Muslims into realising that Islam was being ridiculed.

ibrahim ali perkasa ceramah in gombak 1"Jihad does not only mean perang salib (crusade), it does not mean the killing of Christians and Muslims, (but it) includes acts of prevention (by) using one's hands, mouth, writing and other means.

"Everyone lost their cool (in response to Saturday's speech) but they don't realise what they do sometimes also demean Islam, and when this happens no one is reprimanded," he said.

Ibrahim lamented that the only media which gets criticised all the time is Utusan, and that new media, be it news portals, blogs, Facebook pages or Twitter users, get away scot-free by posting insulting articles and photos that insult the religion.

"I used the word 'jihad' to jolt people into realising (that Islam is being maligned)," he said.

'Naive' to expect action against Utusan
Asked to comment on the Home Ministry's caution letter against Utusan, Anwar said that it would be "naive" to believe that action would be meted out against the Umno-owned newspaper.

Citing his experience as a Umno deputy president, he claimed that the "it is an unwritten law of the country" that Utusan gets its instructions straight from the party's boss.

"Clearly (it is) naive to assume that Umno will take action against their own party newspaper which functions under the direction of the president of the party, who happens to be the prime minister of the country.

"I'm not ... fatalistic or dismissive (about the matter). I'm saying that this must be made known. (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak) can go on saying 'Oh, Utusan - tough!' but I know Utusan and how it is run," he said.

The Home Ministry had last week issued a caution letter against Utusan for publishing the report on the alleged Christian conspiracy but this was deemed by its detractors as too lenient.

Malaysiakini will be publishing the full interview with Anwar Ibrahim next week.- Malaysiakini, 20/5/2011, 'Don't use ISA or sedition laws against Ibrahim Ali'

Everyone has the freedom to have their say - and the people will listen and decide on their own position and stance. Malaysians are mature and reasonable and will think for themselves and make their own position.

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