The Bar Council recently issued a statement that Sedition Act is not an answer to maintain peace and harmony. Instead, according to the Bar Council, the Sedition Act should be repealed and replaced by an NUCC harmony proposed law namely Racial and Religious Hate Crime bill. This NUCC harmony law was drafted by the Bar and according to Christopher Leong, the president of the bar council is a solution to achieve peace and harmony. It was reported that:
“He (Christopher) also proposed a new national, harmony legislation that would serve to promote and achieve genuine peace and harmony.”
But this is where the bar is misconceived and disconnected from the rest of Malaysia. The NUCC law legalizes seditious statements so long as there is no physical threat. For example section 4 states:
“Whoever engages in conduct that is intended to threaten, incite, or incite others to threaten, physical harm towards another person or …property …on the basis of race is guilty of an offence…”.
Similar position under section 5 for religious belief.
What this means is that under the NUCC laws you can make as much bigoted and racists statements that you want and it will be perfectly legal as long as there is no threat of violence. You can insult and demean Islam, Allah, Prophet Muhammad SAW, Hindu religious gods, Chinese customs and say as much racists statements as you like, it will be perfectly legitimate to utter it as long as there is no threat of physical harm.
This is the way forward proposed by the Bar Council. Instead of reducing seditious statements, the Bar wants to allow more proliferation of seditious, bigoted and religious statements and to the Bar Council this will actually achieve genuine peace and harmony. Do you think this will achieve peace and harmony?
As is, its strongest supporters of abolition of Sedition Act, Lim Guan Eng, DAP, many non malays and the Christians (as in the Christians Federation of Malaysia) have made huge hue and cry and lodge various police reports over statements by ISMA and Ibrahim Ali over statements of “Pendatang” and Bible. These statements by ISMA and Ibrahim Ali would not even be an offence under the NUCC law (as admitted by the previous bar council president lim Chee wee) but all of them are hugely upset and agitated with these statements calling for enforcement of Sedition Act.
The Bar has lost it and is really disconnected with the reality in Malaysia thinking a proliferation and legalization of bigoted and racists statements would achieve genuine peace and harmony. Paraphasing the words of Christopher Leong, anyone who believes the NUCC Act is the key to peace and harmony is “delusional”. “It is folly to think that the [NUCC law] is our answer to maintaining and promoting peace and harmony. There is nothing in the [NUCC harmony] law that supports any such notion.
Any right minded Malaysian, in paraphrasing Christopher, would see the [NUCC law] would only perpetuate disharmony, and that by proposing the [NUCC law], the government was caving into pressure by “irresponsible quarters”. “There are quarters in Malaysia who have created an environment of disharmony — misinterpreting and abusing the Federal Constitution, distorting our history, exploiting insecurities” and challenging our peaceful and traditional values. These irresponsible quarters do not want those who scare monger with racists and religious statements to “be brought to account by the law.” And this is downright wrong.
And this irresponsible quarter is the Bar Council. The way forward must not and cannot be an increase and legalization of bigoted and racists statements with the purpose of dividing us. We want all these divisive racists and bigoted statements to cease. By legalising it, the Bar Council is highly irresponsible and part of the mess of confusion we have now in Malaysia. The Bar needs to be reformed.