Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 3.11.2014.
By Refusing To Charge Ibrahim Ali For His Inflammatory Calls To Burn Malay And Iban Copies Of The Bible With The Word “Allah” Allegedly Distributed In A School In Penang When No Such Bibles Were Distributed, Clear Double-Standards And Selective Prosecution Of The Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) In Failing To Let The Courts Decide.
Sabah State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak disagreement with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s justification for Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn Malay-language Bibles follows the condemnation of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem. This raises questions as to whether Sabah and Sarawak’s views are unimportant as compared to the extremists in Peninsular Malaysia supported by UMNO.
Clearly it is wrong for the Bibles to be burned by Muslims, especially when it is not done as a mark of respect towards Christians but as a protest against Christians. Even a former AGC prosecution chief Stanley Isaac, said that the reasoning of AGC that the “burn Bible” call had no seditious tendency or that Ibrahim had no intention to provoke are “flawed in law”. He said that Section 3(3) of the Sedition Act makes it clear that intention is “irrelevant” if the statement has seditious tendency.
The double-standards and selective prosecution of the Attorney-General Chambers (AGC) in refusing to charge Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali, for his inflammatory calls to burn Malay and Iban copies of the Bible with the word “Allah”, which is no different from behaving like a defence counsel for Ibrahim Ali, is all due to cabinet’s tacit approval and indifference towards the rights of non-Muslims. Even though several Cabinet members have individually opined that Ibrahim Ali should be charged for trampling with impunity over the sensitivities of Christians, they have all passively submitted to Cabinet’s decision to fully endorse the AGC’s decision to let Ibrahim Ali escaped unpunished.
This is highlighted by de facto Minister of Law Nancy Shukri who merely “read out” her written answer to my question in Parliament justifying that Ibrahim Ali would not be charged because he was merely defending Islam. Worse she compounded that error of an answer with an even worse grievous error by stating that this is in line with the Federal Constitution. So far, Nancy Shukri has still not explained where in the Federal Constitution or in the Holy Quran, is stated that burning Bibles is justifiable to defend Islam.
The AGC’s explanation yesterday that Ibrahim’s call for Bibles to be burned must be viewed in its entire context, adding that the Perkasa chief’s statement was aimed at the Bibles distributed to Muslim students of SMK Jelutong in Penang, is wholly ridiculous. Where is it stated under sedition laws that an exception can be made for a statement made with seditious tendencies merely because of the context it was viewed?
When I was convicted and imprisoned for 18 months under the Sedition Act in 1998 for defending a minor who was raped but “imprisoned” whilst her rapists escaped scot-free, even speaking out the truth is no defence against the sedition charge so long as a seditious tendency can be proved. DAP does not approve of sedition laws but if the government wants to apply it, they must apply it fairly and impartially. Practicing double-standards like in Ibrahim’s case clearly shows that the sedition law is a weapon of mass destruction against BNs political opponents.
The AGC stressed that when studied in its entire context, Ibrahim’s statement is not categorised as having seditious tendencies because it was clear that Ibrahim Ali had no intention to create religious tensions, but was only defending the purity of Islam. Why then was I still convicted when I showed that my intention was to defend the purity of justice? The AGC should charge Ibrahim Ali and let the courts decide if Ibrahim’s defence of “context” and “intention” stands.
The AGC also confirmed that the Bibles were distributed outside the school in Jelutong, Penang last year, was not in Bahasa Malaysia nor in Iban as alleged by Ibrahim but in English and neither did the Bibles contained the word Allah.
Clearly the AGC is engaging in sheer nonsense by claiming that the faith of Muslim students is at stake when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud attended Christian missionary schools without having their faith shaken nor were there any recorded cases of missionary schools attempting to convert their Muslim students.
LIM GUAN ENG
— CN Version —