Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Seditiously Hilarious!

Don't point and click your mouse at that URL link. It could be seditious. How seditious are we, anyway? If we read the Sedition Act literally, most of us, during the run-up to the last General Election till now would be caught by it. I mean literally caught. Uttering words in coffee shops, at the bus stands, while waiting for our food during lunch hour and other instances, we have but not in infringement of the said act.

The wiki said this about the law of sedition in Malaysia. 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". We have not but dwelled on those issues for the past 3 months or so. Don't deny this. By the look of it, Malaysian is one seditious lot. We are seditious then? No, we are not seditious. We are just concerned. We are concerned citizen. That's why we talk, discussed, and wrote about those issues. We are not politician, we are only Malaysian citizen.

Read the wiki, if you don't want to go through the act itself, about the law. The wiki has added further of the followings; The latter provision includes the questioning of certain portions of the Constitution of Malaysia, namely those pertaining to the Malaysian social contract, such as Article 153, which deals with special rights for the bumiputra (Malays and other indigenous peoples, who comprise over half the Malaysian population).

Now, what about the above? Most of us have certainly ventured into conversations and even writings with regard to that. The again, we discussed because we are concerned and we do not gain any political mileage when doing so. Not like politician. Most of our Member of Parliaments and politicians, Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional, would be liable for sedition in one way or another concerning discourse with regard to the above.
Seditiously hilarious? Watch all 3 parts.

Enough of the comics, now let's continue.
Under section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 it is further specified that anyone who "does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do" an act with seditious tendency, such as uttering seditious words, or printing, publishing or importing seditious literature, is guilty of sedition. It is also a crime to possess a seditious publication without a "lawful excuse". The act defines sedition itself as anything which "when applied or used in respect of any act, speech, words, publication or other thing qualifies the act, speech, words, publication or other thing as having a seditious tendency".

There you go, it is also a crime to possess a seditious publication without a lawful excuse. Now, my question is how many of us have bookmarked the Malaysia Today site as one of our favourites? Most of us do. How many of us have pointed and clicked our computer's mouse at the link of the seditious blog piece? Most of us did and still do.

Mere act of accessing the article would then fall under the criminal act of sedition, if we go word for word, in accordance to the act. By clicking the link and refreshing our internet browser we have but committed a crime under the act. Click! Hey! Presto, we are now in possession of the said seditious article, are we not? And that's a crime? That doesn't make sense, does it?

Therefore is the law archaic? The British have their reasons when they enacted this law way back in 1948. The law were there as to curb the rising of Malayan independence movement then. That reason does not exist anymore. The Brits are no more here.

When our forefathers successfully gained independent in 1957, they have drafted and passed the law to make the Federal Constitution as the supreme law. In it there is one particular clause, article 10 (1) of the FC to be specific. In that, the people right for freedom of speech has been engraved in stone. This new article of the constitution would then by law supersede the old law called Sedition Act 1948. To an extent, would the enforcement of the act would now mean that we are enforcing laws that are in ultra-vires of the constitution itself?

For what is worth, assuming RPK is really in the wrong, what he did is not a crime against the people, it's more personal. Libel and defamation suit should be instituted against RPK by the parties concerned instead of charging him and making it as a crime against the people. What the charge did is making him a celebrity and helping his course some more. One thing for sure, Pakatan Rakyat politicians certainly are harping on the issue and currently using the same to gain political mileage as against the BN government.

Last we heard the government was in the mood of reforms. Where have all those moods gone to?

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