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Monday, March 30, 2015

ONLY IF YOU'RE FROM UMNO: 'Here you can say anything' - Bung claims speech in Malaysia freer than Singapore

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians have the freedom to speak freely in this country unlike in Singapore, Umno MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said today after Singapore media reported the arrest of a critic of the late Lee Kuan Yew.
Bung’s comment, issued during his parliamentary debate this afternoon, comes despite numerous reports here of a police crackdown on opposition lawmakers and their supporters under a number of laws, including the colonial-era Sedition Act.
Bung also said today that critics of the judiciary in Malaysia only speak out when court judgments do not favour them, ostensibly referring to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had denounced the Federal Court’s judgment that sentenced him to five years’ jail for sodomy.
“Those who criticise former (Singapore) Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew are arrested,” said Bung.
“Can’t even criticise him, but here, we can say anything,” the Kinabatangan MP added.
Singapore broadcaster Channel News Asia reported earlier today that the police have arrested a Singaporean 17-year-old teenager who had posted a YouTube video criticising Lee and disparaging Christianity.
Bung also claimed that the police in other countries “point a gun” to the heads of those they are detaining, in response to criticisms that Malaysian authorities abuse their powers.
However, he did not specify the countries.
Various opposition lawmakers have been investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 for questioning the Federal Court’s controversial ruling in Anwar’s Sodomy II trial, which the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader has maintained was politically motivated.
Seberang Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli, both from PKR, as well as DAP’s Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming and Socialist Party of Malaysia’s secretary-general S. Arutchelvan, were recently investigated for sedition over their remarks on the Federal Court’s February 10 verdict.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar from PKR was investigated for sedition after she recently read out parts of Anwar’s speech in Parliament, in which he had criticised his five-year imprisonment for sodomy and claimed that those in the judiciary had sold their souls to the devil.
The police also recorded Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua’s statement in a sedition investigation over the DAP lawmaker’s tweet “Bastards. Real bastards. Royal my foot”, which was posted in response to Nurul Izzah’s arrest.
A broadcast journalist from radio station BFM is also under investigation over a video she presented recently in which she had questioned Kelantan’s priorities in pursuing the implementation of hudud.
The crackdown under the Sedition Act that started since last year targeted opposition lawmakers, lawyers and activists over their criticisms of political parties, the monarchy and Islamic government agencies.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who has been using Twitter to order sedition investigations over mostly anti-establishments remarks, said last Wednesday that the police will continue monitoring social media despite complaints. - Malay Mail

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