PETALING JAYA, 13 May 2009: Academics from the Asian Public Intellectual (API) Fellowships Program have described political scientist Wong Chin Huat‘s recent arrest for sedition as an “assault against academic freedom”.
The group of public intellectuals said in a statement today that Wong’s arrest under the Sedition Act on 5 May restricted the academic community’s participation in civil society.
“Dissent is increasingly not tolerated. Any fair and legitimate challenge to injustice and foul play is simply demonised by the government. We…regard this as a grave danger to the future of Malaysia and all Malaysians,” said 13 API fellows.
Among others, the API fellows who signed the statement were film director Amir Muhammad, Centre for Policy Initiatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee, and former Penang state executive councillor Dr Toh Kin Woon.
The API fellows urged the government to drop all charges against Wong who was released on police bail on 8 May after three days of being locked up.
They also urged the government to keep its word about opening up spaces for all Malaysians to voice their dissent, not quell criticism through coercion.
“We all know that academic freedom is an essential ingredient in any plan to uplift academic standards. Coming at a time when our country’s universities have to redouble their efforts to raise standards, this action of the police is demoralising to the academic community,” said the API fellows.
They added that Wong did nothing wrong beyond exercising his right as a citizen to engage in a social movement that was committed to the conduct of clean, free and fair elections.
“His arrest and detention are an attack by the government against the fundamental and inalienable right of a citizen, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution,” they said.
Wong was arrested under Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act for calling on Malaysians to wear black to protest against the “ongoing Perak coup” by the Barisan Nasional government.
fikri roslan says
Yes, we are entitled to all kinds of freedoms and rights. But these freedoms and rights come with limits. As long as you are not disturbing others, then you are free to exercise your rights. So do not complain when others exercise their right to complain, and the police exercise their duty. So there is also a limit how much freedom you can exercise. A mMalay proverb says, “Ada ubi ada batas”.
How would wearing black disturb others?
Siapa yang makan cili, dia rasa pedas.
Berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah.
wearing black underwear will upset “Superman”
abdul hakim bujang says
Najib said: â€œWe’re ruling with a three-seat majority. The PAS state government of Kelantan, for 2Â½ years was ruling Kelantan with a one-seat majority, and that particular seat was won by two votes.â€
â€œBut they hung on for 2Â½ years because we respected the process. We respected the majority. In this case, there’s one side that’s refusing to acknowledge this.
â€œCan I ask a question: if Anwar had succeeded on Sept 16 last year, you think he would have called for fresh elections?â€
If someone has threatened to rob you, does it justify you robbing the person in return?
I have my track record opposing Anwar’s September 16 plan. Can you or Umno be as congruent as myself on this matter?