Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Stepping on Najib's photo - is it a legitimate exercise of one's freedom of expression?

Stepping on Najib's photo - Is it wrong? Should it be made into an offence? it legitimate exercise of our inherent freedom of expression? 

If you step on Najib's face - then. of course it is a criminal offence - but stepping on a picture of Najib, our Prime Minister, I believe, it is a legitimate form of freedom of expression.

What about the burning of an effigy of Najib? 

What about tearing and defacing photos in a peaceful assembly?

What about cartons and caricatures of Najib? What about putting a big X on a photo of Najib? What about drawing horns on the photo of Najib? 

There was a protest in one of the Asian countries - where as a form of protest against the leader - people made small stickers of the face of the said leader, and stuck in under their shoes and slippers. They even put those stickers on chairs for people to 'put their bums on the face of the said leader'? 

For most people, we do not have the ability to get on the stage and speak out our opposition against Najib?

If we write to the newspapers, our letters are not carried?

Hence, people become creative in exercising their right of freedom of expression and opinion - and for some, it is the stepping on photos...even burning photos...or even tearing up photos  [Even now, when out boyfriend/girlfriend angers us - we sometimes do the same - burn the photos, even place the photos on a board and throw darts at it...]

Remember the saying, 'A picture paints a thousand words' - like wise a symbolic act of protest or an expression against our PM can also include 'stepping on his picture' ...making 'fun' of him in drawings and even sketches...

In Malaysia now, sadly the police, some politicians and others and even the media is going aboard...with this act of a few people's stepping on Najib's face - [Remember, different people have different ways of expressing themselves - some of us may not agree with the methods used and may not do it ourselves... but should we also make it a criminal act, that warrants the police taking action? I think we should not]

Having perused the photo on the internet - I noted that it was a picture of Najib and Hadi (the PAS President) - Initially, the news seem to just focus on stories that 'people were stepping on Hadi's picture' - 

Why? Was it intended to 'break the opposition against Najib and the BN government' - by maybe trying to make it a 'racial' or 'religious issue'? Remember some even tried to make us think that the BERSIH 4 protest was primarily a Chinese Malaysian protest...and that not many Malays supported - some reports were even saying it was a 'DAP Chinese' affair? 

All these are just attempts to divide Malaysians using ethnicity and race, and even political affliations. BERSIH 4 was an initiative of civil society - not the Opposition political parties, and the objects of the protest was also clearly spelt out...

There are so many laws in Malaysia - and it is so easy to find an applicable law to go after any individual action... Now the police say that the photo stepping incident is being investigated under Sections 290 and 504 of the Penal Code

290  Punishment for public nuisance

Whoever commits a public nuisance in any case not otherwise punishable by this Code, shall be punished with fine which may extend to four hundred ringgit.

504  Intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace

Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.  
What about the statement our Prime Minister that call the participants and organisers...

'...Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has described the organisers and participants of the illegal Bersih 4 rally as "shallow and poor" in their patriotism...' - Bernama, 29/8/2015 > is that also not an 'intentional insult' that warrants investigation under s. 504 Penal Code? One wonders..So many of the people in power and their friends have done things far worse....Remember, the very reason tens of thousands came out to the streets to exercise their rights was because they were 'provoked' into action by the failings of the government and its leaders.

The police should already be busy in their investigation of the alleged corruption against Najib Tun Razak - they really should not be wasting time on this photo stepping issues, which after all, in my opinion, as argued above, is a legitimate act of expression...Furthermore, though not needed, there already have been apologies tendered...

Let us start respecting freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly - and remember everyone has these rights > not just the government and the people in power...


Teen wanted for stepping on Najib pics surrenders

People attend the “Himpunan Janji Demokrasi” rally at Dataran Merdeka on August 30, 2012. — File pic 
People attend the “Himpunan Janji Demokrasi” rally at Dataran Merdeka on August 30, 2012. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — A teen model suspected of stepping on pictures of Datuk Seri Najib Razak during a pre-Merdeka rally here has given herself up to Johor police, The Star reported on its website today. 
A photograph of the 19-year-old had earlier been published in a Chinese newspaper as part of a list of suspects sought over the incident.

According to state police, the girl will be transferred to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters for further questioning.

Yesterday, police also detained a college student suspected of having stepped on pictures of the prime minister during last Thursday’s street celebration of Malaysia’s 55th National Day at Dataran Merdeka. The police were reported to have set up three task forces to investigate three separate incidents of hooliganism that took place over the National Day weekend.

A firestorm erupted last week after several individuals were recorded tearing up posters bearing images of the prime minister, his wife and Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof at the same event.

Several other people were spotted waving a flag with an alternative design ― now identified as the Sang Saka Malaya ― instead of the Jalur Gemilang at the National Day bash last Thursday night.

Bukit Aman’s CID director Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that the police were probing the two separate incidents under the Sedition Act ― despite Putrajaya’s decision to repeal the controversial law that has been widely panned as a tool to curb political dissent.

He added that stepping on pictures of Najib and wife were considered offences under Sections 290 and 504 of the Penal Code for being public nuisances and intentionally causing insult with an intent to provoke break the public peace respectively.

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