Saturday, May 30, 2009

Police to quiz Kit Siang for sedition, defamation

Kit Siang speaking at last Sunday’s ceramah in Penanti.

PENANG, May 30 — DAP leader Lim Kit Siang will be the latest politician questioned by police today for alleged sedition and criminal defamation, this time apparently against the prime minister at the start of the Penanti by-election campaign.

Lim said police officers came to a ceramah in Penanti last night where he was speaking to inform him that he will be questioned in connection with defamation and sedition related to Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his speech last Sunday.

"Apparently I'm wanted by police 4 sedition & criminal defamation of Najib + Malaysia," Lim posted in his Twitter account at about 1.30am.

"I told the police to come to my Penang house to question me. I don't know what it’s about as I gave three speeches that night," the Ipoh Timur MP told The Malaysian Insider.

He said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is his son, lawyers and reporters are expected to be there as well when the police turn up at 11.30am.

In one of his speeches last Sunday at a ceramah in Bukit Mertajam, the veteran politician said Najib was the primary target in the Penanti by-election as it was “a referendum on the credibility, integrity and legitimacy of Najib in his second month as Prime Minister”.

Kit Siang accused Najib of allowing the police to conduct an unprecedented raid on the DAP national head office in Petaling Jaya.

He said Najib's “1 Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” slogan has been shredded and discredited with the Perak political crisis, abuse of police power in curbing political dissent, unequal distribution of scholarships and the delayed release of the audit on the Port Klang Free Zone.

He has been campaigning strongly in the Penanti by-election despite Barisan Nasional's absence on the ballot paper. Polling day is tomorrow.

Kit Siang this morning noted the new government method to “fix” the opposition or dissent by using sedition and criminal defamation charges instead of the Internal Security Act (ISA) that provides for detention without trial.

His colleague, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh, is facing a sedition charge while rights activist Wong Chin Huat was held recently for alleged sedition.

Kit Siang and Karpal have previously been held under the ISA.

Controversial blogger and Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin has been slapped with criminal defamation and sedition charges apart from being previously held under the ISA for allegations linking Najib and his wife to the murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu.

RPK, as he is popularly known, has skipped bail and is said to have left the country.

The Sedition Act is, however, perceived to be less oppressive than the ISA but yet drafted in such a way that it gives the government absolute power to make arrests on its political enemies.

According to section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act, a person is considered to have committed an offence under this law if he or she attempts to do, or make any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or would, if done, have a seditious tendency.

It further read that any person is found to have committed an offence under this law if he or she utters any seditious words, prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes, or reproduces any seditious publications or imports any seditious publications.

Yet in all of this, there is no real and clear definitive guideline as to what constitutes sedition.

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