Attorney-General should charge UMNO Youth leader Zahid Hamidi for the offence of sedition in questioning one of the four sensitive issues when he called for the revocation of citizenship of Lim Guan Eng


Speech - SSPC Meeting
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): DAP has launched the Stop Selective Prosecution campaign not to question or challenge the decisions of the Judiciary but to uphold the Constitution and protect the integrity of the office of Attorney-General to stop selective prosecutions in the country.

The integrity of the office of Attorney-General is an important aspect of the Rule of Law, which ranks high in the factors which will influence investors in deciding whether to invest in the country.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is the countryís No. One salesman to sell the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) to enable Malaysia to make the quantum leap into the Digital Era.

However, the Prime Ministerís efforts to sell Malaysia to the world would be undermined if international investors have no confidence in the Rule of Law in Malaysia, particularly if the Attorney-General could abuse his discretionary powers of prosecution, as in the selective prosecution of the Opposition and NGOs.

The DAPís Stop Selective Prosecution Campaign is therefore two fold:

In this connection, the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah should explain why he is not taking action to charge UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Zahid Hamidi, for the offence of sedition for questioning one of the four sensitive issues entrenched in the Constitution when he called for the revocation of the citizenship of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng.

During the Teluk Intan by-election, Zahid asked the government to revoke Guan Engís citizenship, accusing Guan Eng of "being disloyal to the country for continuing to show contempt for the courts and accusing them as being controlled by the Government."

Guan Eng had lodged a police report against Zahid for committing the offence of publishing "false news" under the Printing Presses and Publications Act as he had not attacked the Malacca High Court judgement finding him guilty of the charges of sedition and "false news". What Guan Eng and other DAP leaders had done was to question the abuse of discretionary powers by the Attorney-General.

Zahid had not only committed the offence of publishing "false news" under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, he had committed the offence of sedition in questioning one of the four sensitive issues entrenched in the Malaysian Constitution.

In 1971, Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution was amended to entrench four sensitive issues to place them beyond the pale of public discussion and debate, namely Part III of the Constitution on citizenship, Article 152 on national language, Article 153 on special rights for Malays and bumiputeras and Article 181 on the sovereignty of the Rulers.

The sedition law was amended to create a new offence of sedition for questioning anyone of the four entrenched sensitive issues, the penalty including the automatic disqualification for a Member of Parliament on conviction, regardless of the sentence - i.e. whether one ringgit fine or RM2,000 fine.

This means that if Zahid is charged and found guilty of sedition for questioning one of the four entrenched issues, namely citizenship, when he called for the revocation of the citizenship of Lim Guan Eng, then the UMNO Youth leader would be automatically disqualified as a Member of Parliament, regardless of the sentence.

The Attorney-General should charge Zahid for the offence of sedition in questioning the sensitive issue of citizenship to show that he does not apply double standards when exercising his discretionary powers on prosecution.

(1/6/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong