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Living seditiously in Malaysia

Photograph: Wikipedia

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All is indeed not well in this beloved country of our as restlessness mounts over sedition arrests, the higher cost of living and religious bigotry, observers Mustafa K Anuar.

Of late, Malaysians have borne witness to a slew of arrests largely associated with the draconian Sedition Act, the latest being the arrest of Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah, daughter of the imprisoned Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Not surprisingly, the brief arrest gave rise to deep concern and condemnation both in the country and internationally.

Nurul Izzah‘s arrest by the police came in the wake of the arrests of activists such as Adam Adli and Mandeep Singh and politician Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad which also earned the wrath of concerned civil society groups and individuals.

And as if such arrests aren’t enough for Malaysians to bear, 13 people were recently sentenced to 10 months’ jail and a RM5000 fine each for having demonstrated against the appointment of the BN’s Zambry Kadir as Perak Menteri Besar, a judicial judgment that was considered unjust. So much for freedom of expression and assembly in the country.

All is indeed not well in this beloved country of ours. For instance, Borders bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz has been hounded for almost three years for having sold books that were subsequently banned. This after both the High Court and Court of Appeal found the prosecution acted in a manner that was unreasonable and in bad faith. And yet, more recently, Jawi has chosen to embark on yet another legal pursuit of Nik Raina, an action that was roundly condemned.

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Restlessness among ordinary Malaysians is also felt when the subject of GST (Goods and Services Tax) is staring at them. GST, despite mounting objections from the general public, will be implemented on 1 April 2015. The new tax is expected to increase the cost of living for Malaysians, the burden of which will be deeply felt by the poor and the marginalised.

In the midst of popular grievances among Malaysians over inflation and the higher cost of living, Kelantan Pas felt the urgency to table an amended Bill on hudud, which evoked concerns among certain quarters in society.

In solidarity,

Mustafa K Anuar

Aliran e-newsletter co-editor

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