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A climate of fear is enveloping Malaysia

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Considerable resources are now being deployed by the Umnoputras to intimidate the rakyat from exercising their constitutional right to free speech, writes Fearful.

I am writing this piece using a pseudonym. But I am under no illusion that if the Umnoputras’ security division wants to know my true identity, it will be a piece of cake to them.

No, this is more to honour my word given to a respected friend and mentor that I will not intentionally draw attention to myself through these politically sensitive writings.

I am still adamant that it is my democratic right to voice my opinion about the present political scenario in our country – a country which I, as a citizen, call my motherland. I was born here and this is the only country I call my home.

The constitution gives us the right to free speech. But, as the recent ABC Four Corners documentary State of Fear puts it, I can feel the climate of fear enveloping our country.

For this, the security division of the Umnoputras deserves great credit. They cannot give a sense of security to the citizens especially in towns and in the urban housing estates.

It has now bloomed into an industry – the semblance of gated communities in established residential areas to combat rampant break-ins, robberies and snatch thefts in our cities and towns.

Perhaps this is why so considerable resources are now being deployed by the Umnoputras to intimidate the rakyat from exercising their constitutional right to free speech. The public security resources of our nation appear to have have been freed to do political work.

READ MORE:  Freedom of expression - the cornerstone of democracy

The Sedition Act 1948 – that draconian piece of legislation that is a remnant of the British colonists used to fight against communism – is now used extensively to silence critics of the government. “They’re just threatening people now and it’s very effective” (State of Fear, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Sarah Ferguson).

The problem is that many of the institutions of state are perceived to have have been compromised to the suit an authoritarian leader.

The ordinary rakyat do not have the resources to fight a sedition charge laid by the attorney general’s chambers. And many of the ordinary rakyat perceive they can no longer rely on a fair, just and independent judiciary as the last bulwark against the excesses of the executive.

Yes, Four Corners is spot on – there is indeed a climate of fear enveloping our country.

Fearful is the pseudonym of a concerned Malaysian reader of Aliran.

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