In recent days, everyone is talking about Raja Petra who , according to Malaysiakini , “has rejected all contact with the outside world including his own wife, Marina Lee Abdullah.”
One would have thought that for a party that has lost 5+1 States and the popular votes in Peninsular Malaysia, there would be much soul searching and perhaps adoption of much needed reform and new strategy to win back the trust of the people.
I was hopeful when the PM announced that judicial reform would be undertaken. I was hopeful when Pm announced the formation of an Independent body for fighting corruption, the MCAC, in the mould of the ICAC of Hong Kong. I was hopeful when suddenly many proBN politicians started to blog, thinking that perhaps more freedom of expression would be allowed.
Alas!! My hope was dashed when the Sedition Act was used to charge well known blogger RPK.
Sedition Act is an archaic law enacted by the British in 1948. The situation then and now is totally different, and this law should have been repealed long ago. It is like using a 1948 car in the formula one race of today, totally out-of -date.
According to Wikipedia, the act 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”.
Is RPK’s writings seditious? I would not want to go into the debate as the case is before the court now.
But if anyone feels slighted by RPK’s writing, or for that matter, if anyone feels slighted or defamed by any writings of any blogger, there is such a thing called civil law and civil court. The person feeling slighted or defamed could sue in a civil court for libel or defamation, if necessary for hundreds of thousands ringgits, if necessary for millions.
It is just like the ISA, another archaic piece. If you feel someone is undertaking activities that may lead to security of the nation being threatened, by all means charged him in open court. So just like ISA, Sedition ACt is out of date and both should have been repealed long ago.
Lee Kuan Yew sued for libel and won many times against those who slighted him in either speeches or writings. I do not remember him using the state machinary to charge someone who has alleged defamed him. He has used ISA for security reasons, but not the Sedition ACt for personal vendetta.
I have a feeling of deja vu; it is like 2004, when we were promised so many things but none came about after 4 years. Is this a repeat of things? Will we ever see the lights of a Judicial Commission or a MCAC, despite the promise? Will it be like the IPCMC? I hope not.
But what RPK case has shown is that, we are taking one step forward , three steps back.