(Not) Getting wiser after the event

Sedition Act

Sedition Act

In the wake of the recent public outcry for the support of doing away with the Article 15 of the Federal Constitution, the Sedition Act and equivalent vocal and thundering defence of the same act, Minister of Information, Communication and Multimedia Dato’ Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek assured that the new law would be a better one.

Bernama.com story:

Sedition Act to be replaced with comprehensive law

14 SEPTEMBER 2014 @ 4:13 PM

SUNGAI BESAR: The current Sedition Act 1948 will be replaced with a new act which is more comprehensive, says Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

He said the act was needed to monitor writings and publications which could disrupt the harmony and unity among people of various races.

“As such, any seditious writing or words if not nipped in the bud, could lead to more serious problems,” he told reporters when asked to comment on calls by some quarters who wanted the act to be retained, while others wanted it repealed.

Ahmad Shabery said this after opening the Sungai Besar Umno division delegates meeting in Sekinchan here today.–BERNAMA

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In theory, the newly enacted laws should be better for the Malaysian society in moving forward and making the nation and her people better. However, that is not true for the Internal Security Act (ISA) which was repealed by the surprised announcement made on this day exactly three years ago.

Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 which came into affect on 22 June 2012 did not have the necessary ‘fangs’ for the security agencies particular the Ministry of Home Affairs, Royal Malaysian Police to ensure the protection of internal and homeland security and prevention of hedious crimes.

This include other law enforcement agencies such as Immigration Department, National Anti-Narcotics Task Force, Royal Malaysian Customs, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency, Malaysian Maritime Enfrocement Agency, Military Intelligence coupled with Attorney General’s Chambers  powers to prevent hedious crimes.

The Policemen brutally killed in the Lahad Datu and Semporna, March 2013

The February 2013 incursion of Sulu MILF bandits armed with military weapons in Kampung Tanduo near Lahad Datu, the brutal killings and cold blooded murder of Policemen in Kampung Simunul, Semporna, both in East Sabah.

This is on top of the incessant public killings and assassinations and increased activities related to drug processing, manufacturing, importation, exportation and distribution believed to be related to lords of the underworld criminal groups and vices released after the Emergency Ordinance was repealed together with the ISA.

This is reflective in the calls made by the Home Minister and Inspector General of the Police.

The sudden rise of serious and violent crimes related to the release of more than 2,500 detainees held under ISA and EO was felt across the board by Malaysians in all walks of life.

The Malay Mail Online story:

Former EO detainees involved in 67 violent crime cases
JULY 16, 2013
KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 – Police have detected 67 violent crime cases committed by former detainees under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) 1969 over the first six months this year.

Bukit Aman Anti-Vice, Gambling and Secret Societies Division (D7) principal assistant director Datuk Abdul Jalil Hassan said the number was a 100 per cent increase from the 33 cases detected in the corresponding period last year.

“The number of violent crime cases committed by former EO detainees has increased after 2,473 of them were released in July last year following the abolition of the EO in 2011.

“Among the violent crime committed by the former EO detainees are murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, criminal intimidation and rioting,” he said here today.

He said although the police were aware of the former detainees’ latest addresses, the police had no power to order or ensure that they would stay at the given addresses.

“Following release, some of them have to work and this forced them to move to other places. When opportunity exists like this, some of them may have returned to crime,” he said.
Abdul Jalil said police could only monitor them in terms of job movements, besides asking their families to inform the police of their whereabouts.

Recently, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported as saying that 90 per cent of serious crime were committed by former EO detainees released from Simpang Renggam Detention Centre.

Meanwhile, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police had given their input and suggestions to the ministry for the drafting of a new law to replace the EO. – Bernama

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This is not withstanding the fact during the campaign of the 13GE, Deputy Director General of Royal Customs Dato’ Shaharuddin Ibrahim was assassinated near Putrajaya Police HQ, on his way to work.

Without the ISA, the work to prevent anti-terrorism activities which include Malaysians suddenly became more uphill. Malaysians are being networked by international terrorist organisations such as cells of Al Qaeda to recruit gullible Malaysians for so called ‘Jihad’ fights, in places like Syria and Iraq.

They guised themselves through social media such as Facebook, blogs and Twitter to recruit, sow their ideology and issue instructions for cells to be activated. Pockets of Malaysians leave the country as ‘tourists’ or even some as ‘Umrah pilgrims’, with the intent to join all these terrorist organisations such as ISIL.

Today, it was reported about former PAS Kedah Information Chief Ahmad Lotfi and other members were killed recently in Syria for fighting for the so-called Islamic Jihadists in the rebellion against Bashar Assad’s legitimate government.

The Sun story:

Sacked PAS member Mohd Lofti killed in Syria

Former PAS Kedah Information Chief Lotfi, killed while fighting in Syria

Former PAS Kedah Information Chief Mohd. Lotfi Ariffin, killed while fighting in Syria

Posted on 15 September 2014 – 12:32am
Last updated on 15 September 2014 – 02:40am
Charles Ramendran
newsdesk@thesundaily.com
Print

KUALA LUMPUR: Sacked Kedah PAS information chief turned jihadist Mohd Lofti Ariffin (pix), who was seriously wounded in an air raid in Syria last week, died just days after slipping into a coma on Saturday.

The 46-year-old was among a group of Isis militants and other Malaysian jihadist engaged in a gun battle when Syrian military fighter jets bombed their location during the skirmish last Tuesday.

It is learnt that Malaysian authorities are aware of his death following intelligence reports received from their international counterparts.

It was also reported that Mohd Lofti’s older brother had confirmed the death of his sibling when contacted by the media.

It is learnt that another Malaysian, Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, was killed instantly during the air strike while another, identified only as Abu Afghan, was injured.

Mohammad Fadhlan, who was also from Kedah and the youngest among Malaysian jihadists in Syria, left to join the group in May.

Mohd Lofti, a father of eight children was last seen in Malaysia in January before he left for Syria without informing his family in Kuala Ketil.

He posted several photos of himself in military fatigues with other militants at a Syrian battlefield on Facebook revealing that he had joined a hardline Islamist group called “Ahrar al-Sham” to fight “Allah’s cause”.

PAS distanced itself from Mohd Lofti, condemning his participation in the Syrian civil war, before announcing his sacking from the party in May.

Mohd Lofti, who was the fourth Malaysian to be killed in Syria, had previously been involved in several other holy wars in other countries. He is said to have undergone extensive militant training during that time before heading to Syria where he was tasked to take charge of the Malaysian factions.

There are about 30 Malaysians including a family of four and five former detainees of the repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) who are in Syria fighting the civil war alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) militants.

Malaysian police sources said it was highly unlikely the remains of locals killed in Syria will be repatriated here as the process was complicated and the cost of doing so is high.

Police are powerless in acting against those who leave for Syria or planned to do as these individuals leave the country on a “multi-point” air travel to avoid detection, sources told theSun.

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This include the first Malaysian suicide bomber. It is unsure how many Malaysians have been recruited to fight as terrorists in these rebellions, which have now become fashionable globally in the skewed guise and excuse for Islam.

The Malaysian Insider story:

More than 100 Malaysians still fighting in Syria and Iraq, say intelligence officers

BY LEE SHI-IAN

Published: 28 June 2014

Shia volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), taking part in a parade on a street in Kanaan, Diyala province. There are more than 100 Malaysian jihadists fighting for Isil, say the police. – Reuters pic, June 28, 2014.
Shia volunteers, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), taking part in a parade on a street in Kanaan, Diyala province. There are more than 100 Malaysian jihadists fighting for Isil, say the police. – Reuters pic, June 28, 2014.
More than 100 Malaysian radicals are in the Middle East fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), police revealed today.

The number is based on intelligence reports which Special Branch had received, a senior police officer from Bukit Aman told The Malaysian Insider.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officer said an accurate figure was difficult to estimate as there were many different routes to troubled Middle East countries.

On Tuesday, Wisma Putra released a statement saying 15 Malaysians had been killed in Syria while allegedly fighting for Isil, a splinter group of al-Qaeda seeking to set up an Islamic caliphate encompassing both Iraq and Syria.
Putrajaya is still waiting for confirmation on the “dead Malaysians” as it was difficult to ascertain the identities of the victims because of a lack of documentation.

“Those who have been detected travelling to Syria and Iraq to wage jihad come from different walks of life,” the police officer told The Malaysian Insider.

“Some are students, some hold regular jobs, some are school dropouts. They are easily influenced by ‘Internet clerics’.”

The police officer said unlike 10 years ago when militant sympathisers conducted their recruitment in religious schools, most of the recruitment now was online.

“Social media has emerged as a powerful tool for these groups to generate support and new manpower. There is also plenty of extremist material on the Internet.”

The police officer revealed there were many videos posted on the Internet which challenged Muslims to rethink their lifestyles.

“Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you have got, the big car you have, the family you have? Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah?

“Definitely, if you sacrifice something for Allah, Allah will give you 700 times more than this,” the police officer quoted one of the videos.

“These are among the many videos available on the Internet used to influence youths and impressionable Malaysians.”

The police officer warned that Malaysians who participated in jihad abroad posed a threat to national security when they returned home.

“If any Malaysian is found to have participated in a Middle East jihad, they can be charged with promoting acts of terrorism,” the police officer revealed.

“Police have already detained about 16 people over the past two months for planning to participate in jihad in the Middle East.”

Isil, which has seized large swathes of territory in Iraq, is also fighting in Syria and has become a magnet for jihadists from Asia and Europe.

The Sunni insurgent group reportedly seized large amounts of weaponry from the Iraqi army which fled.

On Thursday, PAS revealed that it had sacked cleric Lotfi Ariffin last month after learning the latter had signed up with a militant group fighting in Syria. – June 28, 2014.

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It is very damning the problem of more Malaysians getting involved in global terrorism is getting chronic. It is not surprising at all very soon, this so called ‘Jihadist War’ would eventually reach our shores.

Not at the Al Maunah scale but much more lethal and damning proportions. Especially when these battle-hardened fighters with the tight and well networked international terrorist groups come back, as if they are tourists or even pilgrims wandering all over West and Central Asia for convenient excuse of “spiritual journey “of some sort.

The fact is that, ISA was designed for hedious crimes against the His Majesty, the Federation of Malaysia Constitution, His Majesty’s Government and law enforcement and security agencies and the defense of the realm.

Even immigration officers involved in the illegal sales and distribution of MyKads and passports and Royal Customs officers involved in smuggling activities were arrested and detained under ISA and EO.

The law enforcement system is already impaired without both laws and now the Malaysian Government wants to do away with the Sedition Act, the very law inacted and validated by the democratic system via the Parliament to ensure that individuals and pockets of notorious and obnoxious persons do not spew voracious and poisonous opinions that would enrage any groups within the Malaysian society.

These are the provisions as the most important bits of the Sedition Act:

Under section 3(1), those acts defined as having a seditious tendency are acts with a tendency:

“ (a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government;
(b) to excite the subjects of the Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any government to attempt to procure in the territory of the Ruler or governed by the Government, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;

(c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;

(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;

(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or

(f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of part III of the Federal constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.

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The fact is that sedition is an act of crime against Malaysian society. There are notorious individuals who continuously, systematically and structurally challenge and provoke sentiments and emotions of the majority, the law, Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia and even the position and role of His Royal Highness Rulers and His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong, with voracious and poisonous opinion and uttering.

In in effort to do away with the Sedition Act now on top of throwing away the necessary laws such as ISA and EO which has been described by too many law enforcement professionals and analysts as “A big mistake”, may come as a compounded mistake. Considering there are growing pockets of notorious Malaysians which include the Bar Council that continuous challenge many sensitive matters and pushing the envelope further to the edge.

Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is very stern in his opposition against the doing away of the Sedition Act.

The nation lost its powerful tool to prevent and preserve the internal security three years ago today. Malaysians are on the brink of losing another one, where obnoxious individuals and groups could after this freely challenge insult the position and role of HRHs as the Constitutional Head of Islam and protector of the State Constitutions, Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia in the pre-text of ‘Freedom of Speech’ and human rights.

53% of Malaysians are the Malays who proudly want status quo to be maintained and many of them are not shy in reciprocating against any attempts to demean the position and role of HRHs, specific provisions in the Federal Constitution and most of all, whenever Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia is being challenged for what ever excuse or punt intended.

Any challenge against this in any form which include the skewed interpretation by professionals in intellectual discourses would just invite reciprocity by a large number of Malaysians who felt the matter is close to their heart as the role and position of ‘Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia’ is a defining  provisions for the nation itself.

Until recent times, there have been little attempt to openly challenge the position and role of Islam as the religion of the Federation of Malaysia and HRHs as the Constitutional Head of Islam in their respective states. Hence the problem is escalating where as the tool to defend this is being threatened to be changed.

Article 3.1 & 3.2 of the Federal Constitution

Article 3.1 & 3.2 of the Federal Constitution

The challenge is if the Harmony Act which is supposed to be ‘more comprehensive’ compared the Sedition Act is unable to curb the growing challenges and insults against Islam, HRHs and the process to manage and bring matters pertaining to Islam through the Syariah High Court system. This would simply invite ill feeling of the majority and compounded, it could turn into something ugly.

In the complex but compelling reality, all the challenges and insults against the position and role of Islam and HRHs as the Constitution Head and Custodian of Islam could be portrayed and manipulated in the tone and perspective where Islam is being threatened. Compound this with frequency and intensity, then the battled-trained ‘Jihadists’ would eventually come out of the woodworks and network themselves to start a Jihad War here in Malaysia, which has now a major international problem in Syria, Iraq and India.

If it is not clear why Sedition Act needs to be maintained as status quo, then it is only apt to relate the famous quote by philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is as relevant today as it ever was.

Let us hope learning from past cock-ups isn’t a defective virtue identifiable to the Malaysian Government under Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s leadership. In the era of vast agenda of transformation, too much hope rest on Shabery’s statement in UMNO Sungai Besar Annual Division meeting.

*Updated 0900hrs

Published in: on September 15, 2014 at 00:01  Comments (32)