PUTRAJAYA, Oct 30 (Bernama) — Prosecution intervention on seditious issues is deemed neccesary as situations have become too extreme, says Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.
He said the level of tolerance and understanding which existed among the people in the country was being eroded and this might affect current and future generations.
He said in the past, there was no need for prosecution intervention as the people were able to handle comments on seditious cases maturely and patiently. However, the situation has changed.
“In the past, inappropriate social behaviour and language were unacceptable and those crossing the line were immediately stopped by their political and community leaders.
“Today, prosecution intervention is considered necessary as the situation has gone to the extreme,” said Abdul Gani when speaking at the Attorney-General’s Chambers monthly assembly here Thursday.
He said there were differences between orderly campaigns to discuss and debate issues and campaigns meant to undermine the country’s sovereignty and public order.
These included attacks on religion, race and culture, the constitutional monarch and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as well as calls for Sabah and Sarawak to leave the Federation of Malaysia.
“It must be recognised that no government can stop its people from discussing matters relating to their constitutional and legal rights.
“This is part of the accountability and transparency of any elected government in any country in the world. Similarly, also recognised are actions taken to respect ideals created by the Federal Constitution.
“All rights should be respected and implemented unless the Federal Constitution has been amended through a vote or a referendum of the people. This is because, all the elements are elements of a social contract which is the pillar of the Federal Constitution and Malaysia,” he said.
Abdul Gani also reminded that the freedom of speech in a multiracial and multireligious country should be held with responsibility and respect to the sensitivities of other people.
“Today, technological development is speeding up the dissemination of information, regardless of whether it is good or bad. As soon as we hit the button, we are no longer in control of the destination of an information. We should therefore, think carefully of our action and its consequences,” he said.
On the decision not to charge Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for sedition, Abdul Gani said an indepth examination of the statements made by Ibrahim found he had carefully laid out his statement.
Ibrahim had said he did not intend to create a religious commotion but to protect the sanctity of Islam under the law.
He said the Perkasa president had clearly stated that he meant the group which distributed the special Bahasa Melayu-version Bible which mentioned Allah to Malay students.
At a media conference later, Abdul Gani said each person was entitled to defend his own religion, so long as it was not against the law.
“It is not easy to charge someone in court, without complete facts, information and report. It is better if the department takes one case to court and win, rather than bringing 10 cases to court and win only five,” he said.
On Jan 21, last year, police reports were lodged against Ibrahim for calling on Muslims to seize and burn copies of the Bible which contained the word, ‘Allah’ or other Arabic and Jawi religious words at a media conference after a Perkasa convention in Penang.