By Nancy Nais
KUCHING, July 24: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has been urged to issue an executive statement to tell relevant authorities not to harass Sarawak nationalists or activists.
Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan made the call after Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspirations (SAPA) president, Dominique Ng, was called by the police to give a statement over the 722 rally at Central Padang two days ago.
“The fact that Sarawak government has given them the permission to hold the 722 rally, it is therefore very sad to note that they are being called in by the police for interrogation,” Voon told a press conference here today.
He described such actions as the authorities “harassing” the rakyat, claiming that he himself had previously been warned against talking about independence for Sarawak, or secession issues.
Voon believed this could have happened after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent remark in Parliament on the use of the Sedition Act against those who called for secession.
On July 4, Dr Mahathir was reported to have said in his written reply to DAP Lanang MP Alice Lau, that actions would only be taken if the pro-secession drive jeopardised public order and security.
Lau was asking what action the federal government would take against those who called for Sarawak’s secession from Malaysia and whether secession was allowed by the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963.
To this, Dr Mahathir also said: “In line with the government’s policy to promote freedom of speech as per Item 1 of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, the use of provisions under the Sedition Act will only be utilised in cases where an act of sedition creates a situation that is beyond control that it jeopardises the security and public order.”
Sarawak Day, which falls on July 22, marks the day the state gained self-government from British colonial rule in 1963, two months before the formation of Malaysia.
It was declared a state public holiday by the late chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem in 2016. — DayakDaily