Monday, September 8, 2014

Free us from the shackles of the Sedition Act

By May Chee Chook Ying

Brothers follow opposite paths; some good, others wanting but this does not mean that those who are “good” abandon those who are “evil”.
When right-thinking Malaysians think aloud, they are not wishing you ill but admonishing you. The opposite of love is not hatred but indifference.
Only those who care enough will admonish you. They won’t walk away. They will admonish you because that is what you need.

What is a promise? Is it illegal that we demand that others keep their promises to us?
We are all Malaysians; steadfastly and stoically, slogging with expectant hope for a bettertomorrow for the sake of our children.
Yet many Malaysians are facing sedition charges, although not long ago, there was a promise the Sedition Act would be repealed. If that is so, why has Safwan Anang just been sentenced to 10 months jail for sedition?
What do the powers-that-be accomplish by putting away those who care to call for accountability for what the powers-that-be have done or failed to do? And just what did these bravehearts and other right-thinking Malaysians ask for?
That there be respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms?
That there be a host of political rights and civil liberties necessary to support a meaningful democracy?
That the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of a government?
That there be freedom of association?
That there be freedom of expression?
That there be access to power and its exercise in accordance with the rule of law, not the rule by law?
That there be separation of powers?
That there be independence of the judiciary?
That there be accountability and transparency in public administration?
That there be a free, independent and pluralistic media?
Aren’t all the above some of the most basic of all freedoms in a functioning democracy, what more in the most democratic nation in the world?
Democratic deficits, weak institutions and poor leadership aren’t helping us in our march towards 2020.
So, what’s so wrong in reminding you, the powers-that-be that you aren’t on the right track? All done for the love of our motherland. How wrong can this be?
In a functioning democracy, a parliamentarian’s duty is to engage in human rights protection. You can’t be labelling all those clamouring for change as making seditious statements.
Our government should realise they are accountable to us and must answer for their actions. Perhaps, when they do, they will be more responsible.
This is a democracy – you were elected by the people, to do their bidding, not yours.
Saddest of all is that this slew of sedition charges belies something much more terrifying – that some of us, though we are all Malaysian brothers and sisters, actually wish each other ill. That this envy in our fellow brothers and sisters have reached a point of madness and perhaps, even evil.
Please, everyone, stop this madness. We are all Malaysians and we want what’s best for our motherland. Let’s not further fracture the country we love so much with such acts of disunity, acted with impunity.
We need reconciliation.
When we have differences, no matter how strong, the goal is not to put the “offender” on trial but to persuade the “offender” to see the wrong and be reconciled.
Please let’s all work hard to find a solution for reconciliation based on love and wisdom, not coercive force or threat of legal action.
Let’s free ourselves from resentment and ill-will. Let’s raise new levels in forgiveness, bear insults patiently, yet refuse to tolerate evil.
To the powers-that-be, please take stock of what you have become and what you endeavour to be.
There is no place in the 21st century for an arrogant leader, especially in a functioning democracy like us, as we march towards 2020.
Love never harms the neighbour, hence love must be the fulfilment of the law. May we always love others enough to tell them the truth.
Have faith and God bless.
May Chee Chook Ying is an FMT reader

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