Is there a pattern in the way the Opposition is being targeted? Is this going to be the new strategy to contain the Opposition? Malaysians are genuinely perturbed by the new trend that has emerged.
First it was the son that they went for. They suspended him for the day and that should have been the end of the matter. But no, that was not enough. They had to use the sledgehammer to show that they are in power and that their majority can do whatever it wants to.
And so they suspended him a second time, this time for a year without salary and financial perks, without bothering about procedures and natural justice. They had the numbers and so they wrapped up the case without qualms and in the shortest possible time.
Then they went for the father. They charged him under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act. If convicted he would face a maximum jail sentence of three years or a fine of RM5,000 – and this would mean he would lose his seat and be ineligible to stand for election for five years after completing his jail sentence, just like Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim who had to sit out for five years after completing their jail terms.
What was Karpal’s crime? As a very eminent senior criminal lawyer, he stated what the law said. In commenting on the Perak state crisis, he referred to the relevant laws in existence and pointed out the implications and consequences of those laws. He may be right, he may be wrong in his interpretation. But the man is entitled to his views.
His understanding of the laws in question does not make him a criminal. He is entitled to his freedom of thought. That is no crime in a civil society.
In stating his views, Karpal did not use harsh words to disparage His Royal Highness. He did not demean the royal personage of the Sultan of Perak. He was not rude or crude in speaking his mind. He simply stated what recourse there was under the law. That was all.
The thousands of Perakians who took to the streets on the day Zamry was sworn in as Menteri Besar of Perak did not do so because of what Karpal said. They were not agitated by Karpal to demonstrate and protest. Karpal had no part in it. They did what they did on their own from their own sense of justice. Karpal cannot be faulted for that.
But who are the people who twisted Karpal’s views and misrepresented his stand? These are the people who lodged police reports against Karpal. It is these people who had acted in a seditious manner to agitate others and cause disaffection among a small number of people for their own political agenda.
It is important that we separate fact from fiction. It is important that truth must prevail and lies must be buried for good.
18 March 2009