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MCA to AG: Drop sedition charge against Karpal

PETALING JAYA, 18 March 2009: The MCA considers the sedition charge against Karpal Singh to be selective in nature and wants the Attorney-General to drop it.

The party’s political education bureau head, Gan Ping Sieu, said the MCA was of the view that Karpal’s difference of opinion with the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, did not amount to sedition.

Gan said the Sultan did enjoy discretionary power under Article 18(2) of the Perak state constitution in withholding his consent to a request for a dissolution of the state assembly.

On that point, the MCA disagreed with Karpal, who is the DAP national chairperson, for questioning the discretionary power of the sultan.

However, Gan noted that the legality of the sultan’s decision was a different matter.

“The MCA’s view is that the legality of the sultan’s decision can be questioned in a court of law. Whether the sultan’s decision is justiciable is a question of law that must be determined through the judicial process.

“Therefore, any statement disagreeing with, or in doubt of the legality of any decision by His Royal Highness, cannot be, on its own, be regarded as seditious in nature,” Gan said in a statement issued today.

Karpal had threatened to sue Sultan Azlan Shah specifically over the removal of Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, and not over the ruler’s decision not to dissolve the assembly. There is no provision in the state constitution that allows the sultan to sack the menteri besar.

Gan noted that seditious remarks have been made by other politicians but they were never charged under the Act.

Gan cited the police reports lodged by MCA Penang against Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail on his “pendatang” and “penumpang” remarks. Other than being suspended by his party, no other action has been taken.

As such, Gan said the charges against Karpal appeared to be selective and raised doubts about the impartiality of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“The proprietary to charge YB Karpal Singh is questionable and would only convey the perception of selective prosecution. The Attorney General must reconsider his decision.

“We are profoundly concerned that his decision to charge Karpal with Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 may bring disrepute to his office,” Gan said.

The MCA also considers the Sedition Act to be an archaic law that no longer benefited modern society.

“The laws attract criticisms and may even be seen as a repressive instrument. Its inconsistent applications speak for itself. There is pressing need for the government to review and make necessary amendments to the Act, including establishing a better mechanism that commands public confidence and lay down specific criteria to determine its application from time to time,” Gan said.

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6 Responses to “MCA to AG: Drop sedition charge against Karpal”

  1. K S Ong says:

    How refreshing! I did not expect MCA to speak up against such a move by the Attorney General.

    It is about time to do what is right and not just toe the line regardless of what is going on.

  2. tengku mohd faizal says:

    To MCA:

    Please get your priorities right, there are thousands of unemployed out there on our street, yet your party fights for the rights (or wrongs) of Karpal Singh. He is a lawyer, he can handle himself well. The thousands of unemployed on the street can barely even survive. Please get your priorities right.

  3. Jo says:

    Everytime I read Gerakan and MCA standing up for the opposition or their policies, I think to myself, why haven’t I turned around and forgave them? Oh right, 50 years of crap is a rather hard thing to forgive and forget!

    Secondly, whenever they issue these statements, for them it is just lip service that doesn’t cost a thing. It is just a pure public relations exercise and come next election they will go back into the gutter and be even more libelous and/or seditious than they ever were.

    Thirdly, there is one tiny difference between PR and BN components complaining. Unlike, say DAP, PAS, or PKR, MCA and Gerakan ARE the government. They ARE on the inside, they HAVE (at least theoretically) the power to act rather than just issue statements like PR.

    So why aren’t they doing anything with their power to help Karpal? Either they are insincere or they are just further revealing how powerless they actually have become. They are in fact just window dressing for the supposed power-sharing structure that is so critical to our nation’s survival.

    Either way, it doesn’t bode well for MCA or Gerakan to win back the trust of the minorities, per their responsibility in the coalition.

  4. Andrew I says:

    Wow. They’re beginning to sound like the pre-2008 DAP.

    It’s amazing what a little electoral caning can achieve.

  5. vp says:

    If MCA is still concerned about its survival, speak against the wrong doings of Umno. If not, the last stronghold of MCA, Johor will collapse in GE13.

  6. MCA supporter says:

    MCA has to come out with similar statements to win back some support of its community. What has MCA got to say about the locking up of the Perak secretariat building, the intimidation of the speaker and the legitimate state exco by the police?
    You cannot condemn a wrong on one side but condone another wrong on the other side. A wrong is a wrong and MCA must say it loud and clear.

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