Penal Code changes draw ire of BN's Azalina
PARLIAMENT Azalina Othman (BN-Pengerang) has taken a critical stand on the government's Penal Code amendment provisions, surprisingly arguing that the provisions could end up victimising "innocent people".
She took particular exception to the proposal to jail individuals for a minimum of five years for showing disrespect to the national flag Jalur Gemilang.
"What if it is just a young boy who did not think of the consequences of his actions? He would go to jail with rapists and murderers," she said when debating the amendments in the Dewan Rakyat today.
"Please have mandatory counselling for these cases. If the same (person) repeats the offence five or 10 times, then it is understandable (to penalise them). If someone burns the national flag, chances are that the person is naughty (or) insane, not bad per se.” - Malaysiakini, 21/10/2013, Penal Code changes draw ire of BN's Azalina
Knee-jerk reaction shows insecurity’
Debating the Bill, N Surendran (PKR-Padang Serai) said that introducing such sections is a “knee jerk” reaction which shows “insecurity”.
“We reject any attempt to insult the Jalur Gemilang. There is no apologies for that, but is it a crime?...
“There must be readiness to accept criticism. Such provisions in the law show that we are not confident of our flags and institutions (so that) we are too sensitive,” he said.
Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) added that the only people who think that flying the Sang Saka Malaya is a crime are “Umno who celebrate Merdeka as if it is Umno/BN Day”.
He said that this is to deny the role of others in the independence movement, and to lay a claim of monopoly on the struggle.
Khalid said that it is people who try to black out parts of history who should be punished, and not those who fly a flag that was part of the nation’s history.
This irked BN MPs who said that it is because of people like Khalid who “twist history” that such laws must exist.
Shabudin Yahaya (BN-Tasek Gelugor) said that to educate the young, we must at least agree on one flag, and defend it.
“You said that we need education to reduce crime, but how can we educate if we can’t even have one version of the flag? People will blame us if we fail to defend the Jalur Gemilang,” he said.
Nazi symbols and the Sang Saka Malaya
Wan Mohammad Khairil Anuar Wan Ahmad (BN-Kuala Kangsar) said that even in developed countries, some flags and symbols are considered taboo.
“Is Nazism accepted by Western governments? Even the slightest hint of Nazi symbols are not allowed in Europe,” he said.
To this, Khalid said that equating the Sang Saka Malaya to Nazi symbols is a “desperate move to defend a baseless law”.
“I don’t see anyone being jailed for five year it for carrying a Nazi flag in the United Kingdom.
“In fact it is even a joke, albeit dark humour, as the bulk of society has rejected it,” he said, noting that the section is driven by emotion and not rationally.
Meanwhile, Tian Chua (PKR-Batu) questioned if Malaysians will be persecuted if they trample on the Israeli flag during a protest against an Israeli attack on its neigbour.
“The law does not exempt flags of countries which Malaysia does not acknowledge,” he said. - Malaysiakini, 21/10/2013, Sang Saka-flying act prompted Penal Code change
“Destruction, etc. of national emblem121e. (1) Whoever mutilates, defaces, physically defiles, burns, maintains on the floor or ground, tramples on, desecrates, destroys, insults or questions with the intention of dishonouring any national emblem or flag of a foreign nation shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than fifteen years, and shall also be liable to fine.(2) Whoever uses, recognizes or promotes the use of any flag that purports to represent Malaysia other than the flag specified as the Malaysian flag under the Schedule to the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act 1963 [Act 414], or any State in Malaysia other than the flag provided for under the relevant legislation of each State, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years and not more than fifteen years, and shall also be liable to fine.(3) For the purpose of this section, “national emblem” has the meaning assigned under the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949 [Act 193].”.