(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir
Mohamad should clarify in Rome before his meeting with Pope John Paul II tomorrow
whether my arrest in Ipoh yesterday under the Sedition Act 1948 signifies
a new post-911 hardline policy in
the run-up to the next general election to crackdown on legitimate dissent as
well as prohibit any challenge to his “929 declaration” that Malaysia is an
My arrest for distributing the “No to 911, No
to 929, Yes to 1957” People’s Awareness Campaign pamphlet
“to call on all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political
beliefs to preserve the democratic, secular and multi-religious constitution
with Islam as the official religion and not allow this country to be transformed
into an Islamic state for our future generations” and
stressing that the campaign “is not anti-Islam or any religion but to
promote a greater inter-religious understanding in Malaysia” has marred
Mahathir’s visit to the Vatican and his meeting with the Pope tomorrow.
Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar
said yesterday that Mahathir’s meeting with Pope John Paul II was being
“closely watched” by other world leaders and could lead to greater
inter-faith harmony and understanding, especially between Islam and Christianity
However, there can be no
meaningful inter-religious understanding and dialogue when there is no
freedom of speech, expression and beliefs, symbolized by my arrest in
Ipoh yesterday as a result of police
abuse of power, wrongful arrest and violation
of human rights - totally
destructive of Malaysia’s international credibility and image as a key
and strategic player in promoting global inter-religious understanding and
dialogue because of Malaysia’s unique characteristics as the confluence of the
world’s great religions and civilizations.
The DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” People’s Awareness Campaign is to defend the 44-year 1957 Merdeka
Constitution and “social contract” reached by our forefathers from the major
communities and reaffirmed by the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963 on the
formation of Malaysia that Malaysia is a democratic, secular, multi-religious,
tolerant and progressive Malaysia with Islam as the
official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State.
If the DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” People’s Awareness Campaign pamphlet is seditious, then the statement
issued by the Malaysian Consultative Council of
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) on 31st
January this year and signed by its President, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Most
Reverend Anthony Soter Fernandez, reaffirming that Malaysia is a secular state
is also seditious!
The MCCBCHS statement reiterated the stand of
the Council, representing the religious concerns of 42 per cent of Malaysia’s
23 million population who are non-Muslim, opposing any tinkering
with the "social contract".
The MCCBCHS statement asserted:
“When Malaya and
later Malaysia was founded there was a social contract among the different
communities of different races and religious on the type of constitution the
country shall be governed by. Such social contract was then enshrined in our
Constitution and cannot be changed without consultation and consent of all the
communities that make up Malaysia.
“Both the Fedration
of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1956 - 1957 (commonly known as the Reid
Commission) and the Commission of Enquiry, North Borneo and Sarawak, 1962
(commonly known as the Cobbold Commission) had reported that the position of
Islam being the religion of the Federation shall not imply that Malaya and
Malaysia is not a secular state. In other words, Malaya and Malaysia is a
secular state. The Reid Commission is the body that framed and drafted the
Constitution of the Federation of Malaya after consulting all the communities of
Malaya while the Cobbold Commission was formed to seek the views of the
communities of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The Constitution of
our country provides that the Constitution is the supreme law of the country and
any law passed which is inconsistent with the Constitution shall to the extent
of the inconsistency be void. State legislatures may only pass with regard to
any of the matters enumerated in the State list of the ninth Schedule of the
Constitution, of which Syariah Law, applicable to persons professing the
religion of Islam, is one of the matters. Hence State Legislatures and Parliment
in respect of the Federal Territories derive their authority to make such laws
from the Constitution.
“In 1988, we deemed
it necessary to come out with a declaration. More than thirteen years later, we
are of the view the situation has become worse and therefore find it appropriate
to reiterate our stand and urge the federal and all State governments to respect
the rights of every person to freedom of religion and recognise that
Malaysia is constitutionally a secular state.”
It boggles the imagination as to how any defence
of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the “social contract” reached by our
forefathers from the major communities and reaffirmed by the peoples of Sabah
and Sarawak on the formation of Malaysia in 1963, and which had been upheld by
the highest court of the land in a long list of legal precedents,
could be construed as “sedition”.
If so, then the first three Prime Ministers,
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn would have been guilty of
sedition as they had defended the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social
In fact, if anyone had committed “sedition”
in the sense of undermining and subverting the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and the
“social contract”, it is Mahathir with his “929 declaration” at the
Gerakan national conference on September 29 last year declaring that Malaysia is
an Islamic state, and all the other Barisan Nasional leaders, including MCA and
Gerakan leaders and Ministers who gave instant support to the declaration. –
without the mandate or even reference to Parliament, the people of Malaysia or
the respective MCA, Gerakan and UMNO general assemblies.
The thought had never occurred to me that
Mahathir should be arrested and charged for offences under the Sedition Act 1948
for his “929 declaration” in challenging the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
“social contract”, but if the DAP’s “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to
1957” pamphlet to defend the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social
contract” could be construed as an offence under the Sedition Act, then
Mahathir’s “929 declaration” would qualify to be the
capital offence under the Sedition Act, and the Police must explain why
they had arrested me instead of
Mahathir for sedition?
As I said, the DAP had never thought about
police arrest and prosecution of Mahathir under the Sedition Act for his “929
declaration”, but we are now entitled to question the adoption of double standards by the police, where the
defence of the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract” is regarded
as an arrestable offence under the Sedition Act while Mahathir enjoys legal
immunity for the real “sedition” of openly
challenging the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and “social contract” with
his “929 declaration”!
I call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan
Sri Norian Mai and the Attorney-General Datuk Abdul
Gani Patail to take immediate steps to rectify the gross police abuse of
power, false arrest and violation of my human rights, and if within a week the
authorities are not prepared to concede and apologise for my wrongful arrest
yesterday, the DAP will seriously consider the option of lodging a police report
against Mahathir for committing the offence of sedition under the
Sedition Act for his “929 declaration”.
I am very surprised by
the statement yesterday by the Ipoh
Deputy OCPD, Supt Che Sab Hanafiah that I was arrested for further questioning
for distributing pamphlets believed to contain material considered seditious
under Section 4 (1) (C) of the Sedition Act 1948.
It was Sab who told me
that I was being arrested for distributing pamphlet without permit under the
Sedition Act when he directed Chief Inspector Abdul Wahab bin Abu Rahman to
arrest me at Pasir Pinji market when
I demanded to know the reason for the arrest.
When I told him that there was no such offence in the Seditionn Act, I
was told that the police could arrest me and that I could complain after I had
been taken to the police station.
Section 4(i)(c), which
provides for maximum sentence of three years’ jail or RM5,000 fine or both,
states that it is a sedition offence for any person who “prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale,
distributes or reproduces any seditions publication”.
There is no provision in
the Sedition Act for anyone to distribute a seditious pamphlet “with
permit”. If the “No to 911, No
to 929, Yes to 1957” pamphlet is seditious, whether I distribute it or not is
irrelevant, as mere possession is already an offence under the Sedition Act.
The DAP’s “No to 911,
No to 929, Yes to 1957” campaign will continue without any let-up, for it is a
patriotic and nationalist campaign to defend the 1957 Merdeka Constitution and
I have been informed that
the campaign this morning in Buntong Market in Ipoh, led by DAP Acting
Secretary-General and MP for Bukit Mertajam Chong Eng had
proceeded without any police interference although police were present.
I will be with the
National Organising Secretary and MP for Cheras, Tan Kok Wai, at the launch of
the campaign at the Menglembu market in Ipoh at 8.30 a.m. tomorrow to personally
distribute the “No to 911, No to 929, Yes to 1957” pamphlet, and I am
prepared to face further action from Sab if he really believes that I am
committing offences under the Sedition Act.