Friday, August 15, 2014

Malaysian HR Commission rightly condemns the response to the Facebook ‘like’ issue

As it is, the state of freedom of expression and opinion in Malaysia is deplorable...and the internet was one thing that this government promised earlier they would not try to 'control'. 

Malaysians generally have been cowed to silence and obedience - and people generally are afraid to reveal contrary opinions, disagreements, etc ... Since the end of 90s, there has been changes as more and more people are willing to take the risks of arrest, detention and other forms of persecution to come out to the streets the express their views collectively. 

With the advent of satelite TV, Malaysians have also been more exposed to what is happening in other countries, and they are making comparison with our Malaysia. For example, the question arises as to why in Malaysia, unlike other democracies, we the people of Malaysia do not have the right to elect our own local government - the Local Councils. Mind you, even in Palestine (and Gaza) there is elections for local government. 

Now, we are all angry with what is happening in Palestine - but really this anger must be directed at the Israel government - the Zionist regime NOT all people of Israel. Remember that that about (possibly more) of the Israeli citizens are Palestinians(most Muslims but there are also Christians and Jews). Now, likewise the Palestinian people are multi-religious - Muslims, Christians and Jews. I remember once when Arafat came to Malaysia, he clearly stated that the Palestinian struggle was never a Islamic struggle or a 'Jihad' but a struggle of the Palestinian people. Now, also in Israel, there are many who are also opposed to what their government is doing. 

'I love Malaysia' - does it translate to 'I love BN government' - I do not think so. We all love Malaysia, and that is why many are struggling for a better Malaysia...and this many a times means opposing the current government...

Freedom of expression and opinion means that I also allow those with opposing views to do so as well. There is and must never be double standards - one rule for those with like views, another set or rules for those with a different view. We are always in a continuous dialogue...discussion...debate - and it is often that we find that we may change our original stand after considering all the other points of view. 

Look at the Facebook groups that discuss current affairs, rights and justice, and you will see that there may be many members - but really a very few that actually posts or comment...and a few more who read that press the 'Like' button. Unfortunately, there is no button 'Agree', 'Disagree', 'Neutral - meaning I am still considering'. So pressing the 'Like' button does not really imply anything but an appreciation of the point made...a 'syabas' for voicing out - and cannot be taken as anything more than this....unless the one who posted or commented, asked readers to press 'Like' if you agreed. 

So, why the overkill with this issue of teen pressing 'Like' button. Is it just to put fear into all Malaysians to return to where they were - silent, obedient, unquestioning,.? Wonder whether this and all the other 'internet' things being highlighted is to prepare us for laws that may come in to further affect our freedoms and rights? 

Sedition probe into Facebook ‘like’ draws criticism from Suhakam

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia is shocked that the police is pressing ahead with a sedition probe into the ‘I love Israel’ Facebook page which was ‘liked’ by a schoolboy. – August 15, 2014. 
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia is shocked that the police is pressing ahead with a sedition probe into the ‘I love Israel’ Facebook page which was ‘liked’ by a schoolboy. – August 15, 2014.The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is shocked at the way the police are handling the incident involving a Form Five student who "liked" a "I Love Israel" Facebook page, just as authorities said today they would press ahead with the sedition probe.

Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, in a strongly-worded statement today, said that the sedition probe was an overreaction on the part of the police.

He added this was yet another example of how the Sedition Act could restrict freedom of expression, adding that it could have been resolved without invoking the act or exposing the student to criticism and threats.

"We call upon all relevant authorities to weigh their actions accordingly and to use their discretion appropriately in the handling of matters that concern the social media and the expression of various views and opinions." A concerned Hasmy said that it was also unfortunate that the teachers failed to handle the matter responsibly as educators.

"Instead, they created a situation that has violated the basic rights of the student, contrary to the spirit and articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a State Party.

‎"We also call upon the Ministry of Education to incorporate human rights as part of the school curriculum to better promote respect, understanding and acceptance of the basic rights of all citizens, including those of students."

Hasmy urged everyone to practise restraint and not to partake in any action that promotes ignorance and hatred.

The Form Five student at the centre of the controversy attends a school in Taman Tasek Mutiara in Simpang Ampat, Seberang Perai Selatan.

It was reported that he allegedly liked the "I Love Israel" page on Facebook and his teacher posted a screenshot of what he did.

The teacher's post attracted many comments condemning the boy, with some calling for him to be boycotted. One Facebook user even remarked that the boy should be burned.

Lawyers and netizens have criticised the police for the sedition probe, describing it as an overreaction and a waste of resources.

Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek had also described the probe as "unfair".

Despite that, ‎Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi had said two investigation papers had been opened, and the boy would be probed under Section 4 (1)(c) of the Sedition Act.

  Suhakam says pro-Israel 'like' probe overreaction


The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has slammed the authorities for overreacting tothe incident of the teenage  schoolboy who 'liked' a pro-Israel Facebook page.

Suhakam is of the view that the reported sedition probe of the 17-year-old is an overreaction on the part of the police, said chairperson Hasmy Agam in a statement today.

“It is unfortunate to note that the teachers concerned had failed to handle the matter responsibly as educators and instead created a situation that has violated the basic rights of the student, contrary to the spirit and articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a state party,” he added.

Hasmy said the heavy handed action was an example of how the Sedition Act is misused when the matter could have been easily resolved..

"Such an incident is another example of how the Sedition Act can restrict freedom of expression.

“This matter could have been resolved through other approaches without having to invoke the
Sedition Act or to expose the student to criticisms and threats by various parties.”

The commission also told the authorities to "practise restraint" in their actions especially in matters concerning the social media, and "not to partake in any actions that promote ignorance and hatred".

The police are probing a Form Five student from Simpang Ampat, Penang for sedition after he clicked 'Like' on the ‘I Love Israel’ Facebook page.

Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi said they schoolboy is being investigated under Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act and if convicted will be fined up to RM5,000, jailed up to three years, or both. - Malaysiakini, 15/8/2014, Suhakam says pro-Israel 'like' probe overreaction

Below are extracts of the relevant provisions of the Sedition Act.... 

 4  Offences.SEDITION ACT 1948
(1) Any person who -
(a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or which would, if done, have a seditious tendency;
(b) utters any seditious words;
(c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; or
(d) imports any seditious publication,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and any seditious publication found in the possession of the person or used in evidence at his trial shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.

3  Seditious tendency.

(1) A "seditious tendency" is a tendency -.SEDITION ACT 1948
(a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government;
(b) to excite the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure in the territory of the Ruler or governed by the Government, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;
(c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;
(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;
(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or
(f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.

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