Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kit Siang tells Najib to heed Egypt, free Shuhaimi

February 05, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Lim Kit Siang has told Datuk Seri Najib Razak to heed the Egyptian crisis and withdraw the sedition charge against Sri Muda assemblyman Shuhaimi Shafie.

Lim urged the prime minister to take this “tiny step” in order to prove his administration had the political will to “wind down” and eventually end political repression.

“If the Najib administration is to learn from the lesson of the Egyptian crisis, there are many things it would have to do — but let it start with the tiny step of withdrawing the sedition charge against Shuhaimi on Monday,” Lim (picture) said in a statement today.

He said Shuhaimi’s sedition charge was the latest reminder that the Attorney-General’s Chambers served Barisan Nasional (BN) and not the people.

The Ipoh Timur MP accused the A-G’s Chambers of being “very quick on the draw” to respond to police reports of sedition lodged against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders while ignoring similar reports against BN politicians.

“For too long, the administration of justice, whether the judiciary or the Attorney-General’s Chambers, has suffered under a cloud that they are not independent or professional but have to do the political bidding of the powers-that-be,” he said.

Lim added that Najib should give top priority to restoring public confidence in key national institutions like Parliament, the judiciary, Attorney-General’s Chambers, police, Election Commission (EC) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Shuhaimi was arrested on Thursday and informed that he will be charged on Monday under section 4(1)C of the Sedition Act 1948 over statements regarding the state secretary impasse posted in his blog recently.

The Selangor assemblyman had openly opposed the appointment of Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi as Selangor state secretary.

He, along with 33 other PR assemblymen, recently voted in favour of the amendment to Article 52(1) of the state constitution while the 20 Barisan Nasional (BN) representatives opposed it to allow the Sultan — under the mentri besar’s counsel — to appoint the state secretary, legal adviser and financial officer instead of the federally-controlled Public Service Commission.

The coalition failed to amend the state constitution as it needed 38 votes to pass the amendment.

The issue first came to light when the state opposed Khusrin’s appointment as state secretary, arguing that the mentri besar was not informed of the appointment and it was thus invalid.

Shuhaimi has been subjected to intense attacks by Umno and its mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia, which has accused him of insulting the royal institution after he blogged his comments on December 30 about the state secretary crisis.

Utusan Malaysia published a front-page story with the headline “Shuhaimi derhaka (Shuhaimi committed treason)” on January 3.

The Malay-language paper quoted Selangor Umno as saying that Shuhaimi should be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly inciting hatred against the royal institution.

Last month, the Selangor Anti-Fraud Coalition (GAPS) and Malay rights group Perkasa lodged a police report against Shuhaimi for allegedly insulting the Selangor Sultan on his website.

Perkasa also called for Shuhaimi to be charged under the Sedition Act.

PKR has however maintained that Shuhaimi was being “harassed” by the police over the matter.

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