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Corruption won’t be exposed or challenged

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By introducing a new Section 203A to the Penal Code, they are going to punish those who expose corruption and mismanagement of the country, says P Ramakrishnan.

Image: unodc.org
Image: unodc.org

It was Edmund Burke who said it so aptly, “Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.”

Knowingly, the Barisan Nasional is on a spree of passing bad laws under the pretext of safeguarding the security of the nation. Good intentions are proclaimed but the evil intentions behind these moves cannot be hidden. We know what the BN is up to.

They passed the amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, which brought back the ISA in another form, to tyrannise the people, pretending to curb serious crimes in the country.

Now by introducing a new Section 203A to the Penal Code, they are going to punish those who expose corruption and mismanagement of the country. The punishment meted out under this new provision is so harsh that whistleblowers will be gagged forever even when there are instances of gross sqandering of the nation’s wealth.

While it is obvious to the discerning Malaysian public that this provision protects corruption, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri, brazenly claims that this provision is necessary for “national security”. This is nothing but hogwash!

Can she cite a single instance in the last 10 years where disclosure of secret information has jeopardised national security and exposed this country to unnecessary risks? What was that which was disclosed that posed a grave danger to the nation? Did it involve military secrets and strategy that compromised the nation’s security?

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Unless this is confirmed no one will believe the justification for this extreme law

It is astounding for the Minister to state that Section 203A was not perfect and yet it was amazingly passed by a pliant Parliament. How ridiculous we have become to consciously pass laws that are imperfect.

In the Minister’s words, “I want it to be more specific this time. I will try my best to get it amended. It needs to be more specific about serious crimes. What’s missing in there (the law) is the (word) serious crime.”

If the purpose is to curb serious crime wouldn’t that be foremost in the minds of the framers of the law? This unbelievable oversight exposes their real intention – which is to prevent disclosure of misconduct and mismanagement.

This amendment could have been fine tuned if only there had been consultation with the Opposition. What is wrong with discussing amendments and bills before they are presented to Parliament in the best interest of the nation?

All these amendments – to the PCA and the Penal Code – are intoroduced in preparation for GE14. They want to make sure that there will be no leakage of information detrimental to the BN. These extreme laws are meant to be used to render the Opposition less effective in exposing the usual wrongdoings of the BN. They hope to prevent a change of government the next time around.

But Malaysians will not be fooled. They know what is intended and for what purpose.

They will be ever conscious of the words of Terrence, the playwright, “Extreme law is extreme injustice.”

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P Ramakrishnan
Aliran executive committee member
24 October 2013

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Ed G
Ed G
25 Oct 2013 11.23am

There are many in the UMNO Baru who are still yearning for those ‘good old days of the 1990s’ when the government could control the minds of the people by using laws to suppress any form of undesirable information or dissenting views. Remember how the news of protests on issues concerning Bukit Cina, ARE, North-South Highway contract, Mahathir’s RM20 million renovation and many others were suppressed after Operasi Lalang? The spins, half-truths and plain lies from the government controlled media, which were the only sources of information that were available to most Malaysians then, were so effective that the majority of our population were singing praises on the government, or more specifically on Dr.Mahathir for bringing forth the so-called progress to the country. This myth was however broken by a series of developments ie. the 1997 finacial crisis, the sacking and persecution of Anwar, the advent of the internet and most significantly, the coming of age of Gen-Y. Amazingly the government today is still holding to the believe that the people can be gagged by the force of laws when information and commentaries are so freely… Read more »

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