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  Speech by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on the Royal Address on Tuesday, 6th May 2008: 

The arrest of Raja Petra & DAP ADUN - “The Empire Strikes Back”?

This morning, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the editor of the news portal Malaysia Today, was summoned to the Kuala Lumpur magistrate’s court to be charged with sedition in connection with his recent posting on Altantunya Shaariibuu murder case, “Let’s send the Altantunya murderers to hell”.

Last Friday, the Police Cybercrimes Division sent a squad to his house in Sungai Buloh and confiscated his laptop and CPU in connection with police investigations under the Sedition Act 1948 for incitement and also because he “commented on a case before the court made its decision”.

Any offence in the latter category would fall under “contempt of court” to be dealt with by the presiding judge for the Altantunya murder case. When and why did it become an offence under the Sedition Act?

The police and prosecution action, coming immediately after the denial by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak through his press secretary of having anything to do with the murder of Altantunya Shaariibuu, smacks of an orchestrated response to Raja Petra’s blog – and must be deplored in the strongest possible terms.

Is this the beginning of a crackdown and the latest example of “The Empire Strikes Back” - the Barisan Nasional strikes back in retaliation of the March 8 “political tsunami” which swept away the Barisan Nasional’s two-thirds parliamentary majority and power in five states?

In Malacca, the police acted in excessive force in arresting the DAP MP for Kota Melaka, Sim Tong Hin and two DAP Malacca Assemblyman, Goh Leong San (Kesidang) and Lim Jak Wong (Bachang), on May Day when they had responded to public concerns about the danger posed to residents and schoolchildren around Tun Tuah secondary school posed by metal rods protruding from the base of an abandoned telecommunication pole in Bachang, Malacca. Lim was handcuffed and was assaulted and kicked by the Ketua Polis Daerah Melaka Tengah.

What crime had the three DAP elected representatives committed when they were acting to protect the safety of the public, particularly school-children, to justify the police to treat them as common criminals, even handcuffing, assaulting and kicking an elected State Assemblyman?

If property rights are infringed, then this should be a subject for civil litigation and not for police abuse of power and violation of human rights.

Clearly, the Malacca police was acting under the directive of the Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Vice President, Mohd Ali Rustam, in retaliation for the March 8 “political tsunami”, gravely undermine public confidence in the independence, impartiality, neutrality and professionalism of the police and the civil service.

Last Tuesday, officers from the Johore State Religious Department and the police gatecrashed into the Johore Baru Moral Uplifting Society, without warrant, to forcibly remove a script picture depicting the Islamic faith as the Society was set up in reverence and respect for five religions, the others being Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Confucianism. The Johore Baru Moral Uplifting Society had been in existence for some 50 years and there had been no complaint whatsoever against it. There are over a hundred Moral Uplifting Societies in the country not to mention its world-wide connections. The religious enforcement officers also threatened to repeat such action in one Moral Uplifting Society after another in the state, with the Society in Muar as the next target.

Although such abuse of power and insensitivity was subsequently countermanded by the Johore Mentri Besar after a nation-wide uproar, what is the message of such “Little Napoleon” rampages – especially as no disciplinary action is contemplated against the enforcement officers or those higher-ups in the Johore State Government and Exco responsible for the policy decision to launch such raids?

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman & MP for Ipoh Timor


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