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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Is it right that a handful decides the fate of millions?

This readers asks if Malaysians are willing to let just three million UMNO members call the shots and seal the fate of 30 million citizens.
COMMENT
By J. D. Lovrenciear
umno bn malaysianThe Sedition Act is here to stay. UMNO members attending their Annual General Assembly yesterday gave a thunderous applause as Najib Razak, their party president announced, “Hence I, as the prime minister, decided that the Sedition Act 1948 will remain.”
Najib’s surprise U-turn comes closely on the heels of Khairy Jamaluddin’s warning that “without it (the Act) to protect us, the nation would be in ruins.”
But Najib’s shocking announcement was also preceded by a wiser Pak Lah cautioning that “Umno’s power and strength comes from the people’s support. Remember, if the people no longer support us, there is no law on God’s earth that can save Umno from losing power.”
The nation’s 30 million citizens, minus Umno’s three million members, should also take note of what Mujahid Yusof Rawa said in reaction to the shocking announcement by Najib.
As a member of the National Unity Consultative Council that was convened to draft a new bill to replace the draconian law, Mujahid said the Sedition Act also had a low burden of proof and was exposed to misuse as to the meaning of the word “sedition”.
He added that in contrast, the proposed National Harmony Act tightened the aspect of “burden of proof” and also offered protection on freedom of speech.
But to what avail? It seems now that Najib has stuck with his mantra of “endless possibilities” like a leech.
What is most disturbing is how millions around the globe will perceive this development in Malaysia.
As Jack Trout advocates, “Perceptions are really what make you and break you.”
Najib needs to know that he represented the entire nation, when he decided to speak on behalf of 30 million Malaysians using the Umno platform that boasts of only three million citizens.
A national decision made on a party platform? Should not such a serious decision with such far reaching implications have been made in Parliament where government rules?
And as we examine the sentiments and arguments postulated at the Umno assembly justifying the need for the resurrection of this draconian law, surely the nation at large will begin to ponder Pak Lah’s words of many years ago.
Many will also wonder what Najib would do if five million citizens agreed that it has to be a “no go” for the Sedition Act. Would the three million voices of Umno still overrule the majority voice?
The announcement that the Sedition Act stays is a clear signal that as long as Umno thinks its enemies are the nation’s own citizens, it has only crippled its hopes for national transformation; and for as long as Umno leaders think that laws alone will protect the party’s relevance, its members are sadly duped.
J. D. Lovrenciear is an FMT reader

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