NGO calls on Anwar to look into ‘double standards’ in hate speech law

Peter John Jaban (file photo)

KUCHING, March 2: An NGO has called on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to look into what it claims to be ‘double standards’ in hate speech law after the High Court dismissed a bid to prosecute preachers for insulting other faiths.

Global Human Rights Federal (GHRF) deputy president Peter John Jaban pointed out that despite Anwar’s rhetoric on racial and religious insults and provocations during the re-tabling of Budget 2023 on Feb 24, nothing was mentioned with regard to implementing a strict ruling or a change to the administration of the law on the matter.

He said GHRF had submitted a memorandum to Anwar on Feb 17, urging for the government to enact a Racial and Religious Hate Act to maintain peace, unity and harmony within the multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious Malaysia.

The NGO had previously sent a memorandum to former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former ministers of Home, Communications and Multimedia, and National Unity as well as the Islamic Affairs Department and the Attorney-General’s Chambers in October 2018.

The NGO has also been submitting memoranda to Bukti Aman Police Headquarters since the administration of Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

He claimed that there was ample evidence and proof to prosecute the culprits.

“Many non-Muslims have been jailed within 24 hours for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad but when it comes to non-Islamic religions being insulted, the law enforcers totally ignore the matter and we need to pursue the matter on our own to seek justice.

“The same law should apply to all Malaysians without such double standards or without favouring any particular race or religion under the equal protections as enshrined by Article 8 of our Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara (National Principles).

“This recent Court decision is just another slap in the face,” said Peter John.

The High Court has dismissed a bid by Global Human Rights Federation president S. Shashi Kumar to commence a private prosecution against two Muslim converts — Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu and Firdaus Wong who is also president and founder of Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM) for allegedly insulting the faiths and religious practices of non-Muslims.

Peter John who is also the Information and Publicity Chief for Sarawak Associations for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) held that it was as if the government was giving Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu and Firdaus Wong and others a free rein to continue making similar ‘seditious statements’ against non-Islamic faiths.

“We will proceed to persevere on the matter by taking it to the Court of Appeal,” said Peter John. — DayakDaily