Gagging the public in the name of Sedition


Raja Petra Kamarudin, as thousands of Malaysians already know by now, refused to post bail and went to Sungai Buloh prison, pending his trial on the charge of Sedition. Even the Parliament is in uproar, as reported in the media.

Well, the New Straits Times reported that he is out now. His wife posted bail and he’s probably headed home for a nice meal. The guy has refused food since he went inside on Tuesday.

Well, great to see he’s agreed to the bail. I hope he is alright now.

Now what did Raja Petra do? He wrote this article in Malaysia Today titled Let’s send Altantuya’s murderers to hell.

Many many Malaysian bloggers have written their opinions about this very disturbing case since it made the media in late 2006. As some irreverent genius said, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Bloggers like Susan Loone has been following this case since its early days.

Soon as RPK does it however, he gets hauled off to court and charged with sedition. For a crash course in the Sedition Act, go Wiki. Why does that happen? Because his column is very widely read.

Why is his column widely read? Because the mainstream media has been castrated and beaten into submission by a succession of Acts and through political “ownership”  and are largely perceived to be controlled.

This Sedition Act, as I read an understood it, is farcical in today’s world or indeed, in today’s Malaysia. It is open to abuse by the government of the day. It is the most paramount tool of curbing freedom of speech in this country.

What defence does the public have against a law that can just grab you and stuff you in jail for saying what you think is right and what the government can define as seditious.

This law is flawed and outdated, and to begin with, it was unjust because it was put in place by the colonial powers so that they can “legally” curb dissent. Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution was supposed to guarantee yours and my freedom of speech, before the amendments made those freedoms subject to governmental control.

This is supposed to be a democratic country, and we Malaysians just exercised our democratic right to exorcise or excise (heheh) 5 states from the malignant tumour that Barisan Nasional became. If they heal, they might be voted back the next election. So can the post-elections baby Pakatan Rakyat be voted out if they don’t deliver they promises to people.

Sedition Act among others, “criminalises speech with seditious tendency, including that which would “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against” the government or engender feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races”. (I picked the paragaphes in quotes from Wiki)

It leaves this “Sedition” charge to be defined by authorities.

I read that Raja Petra was charged with sedition after a policeman lodged a report against him. In Malaysia, does lodging a report against someone mean anything anymore? Raja Petra himself said that the report he lodged against police officer Bakri Zinin was ignored.

These past few weeks everyone who is anyone in politics have been lodging police reports all over the place. My faith in our men on Peace Hill is such that I doubt anything will come out of police reports until and unless some “higher being” takes an interest.

The publicly reported trial of Altantuya tells me this. You know, when two members of the supposedly elite law special forces are charged with the murder of a civilian and his superior actually says in court that these fellows are “supposed to take orders” like robots, something is not right.

Something is indeed rotten. I’m not alone in thinking this. People like Raja Petra dares to say what he thinks in his blog. Is that considered “creating disaffection” with the government?  I’d like to think he, like most of us, wants to ensure those responsible, pay for the crime.

If IGP Musa Hassan and DPM Najib Razak thinks Raja Petra slandered them, then by all means sue him. Let a civil court decide, and if Petra is found guilty based on evidence, let him pay the consequences.You see, many of you may not agree with Petra’s writing or just hate his guts, but this small man is fighting for a voice that has been taken away from us.

Using the Sedition Act is like using a nuclear bomb to kill a fly. Overkill? You bet. Just because the system can do it.

In the Malaysian climate post March 8, this move is also a colossal mistake by the police and the government. Not only will they be hated more, but I won’t be surprised if this triggers the “conscience” of Barisan MPs to voice out or even worse (or better, depending on how your politics are) jump the draconian government’s ship.

I wonder if the present administration is aware of the can of worms that’s gonna be opened with this latest persecution of Raja Petra Kamarudin.

This is a crap shoot people…

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One thought on “Gagging the public in the name of Sedition

  1. How can they possibly gag the 500,000 bloggers we have in Malaysia? All I can say that, if you believe in whatever you’re writing, and like RPK said he has PROOF in whatever he’s saying, he has nothing to worry about. The truth will prevail. It’s those ppl who really are posting rumours and lies that should be wary of the whole situation.

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