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KUCHING, Oct 16: Those seeking independence in a lawful and peaceful manner should not be branded as traitors, opines Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan.
Citing Article 10 of the Constitution of Malaysia which guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association, Voon asserted that doing so was protected under domestic and international laws.
He was responding to worried party members following the viral video of a local based political party whereby its president claimed that it is seditious and treasonous to seek independence.
“The authorities cannot simply abuse the law by arresting and threatening any citizens who act within the law. Otherwise, the people will be disgruntled and such abuse can lead to the fall of a government.
“As a lawyer myself, other law professors and activists have been speaking about freedom and the right to independence, and freedom of speech under the Federal Constitution. Thus I hope this is clear to all citizens of Malaysia,” Voon said in a statement.
He further explained that Malaysia does not have lese majeste laws, which criminalises offences against the monarch while the Federal Constitution clearly says that Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy.
On the law of treason, he asserts that one can only be charged with waging war against the King and Rulers under Section 121 of the Penal Code.
“Therefore, how can this be waging war against the King and Rulers if no weapons or firearms are used?
In the 1960s, Voon said people resorted to firearms which is not right under the law. For that reason, many were arrested under the Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA).
However, there is no more ISA in Malaysia as it was abolished by the government in 2012.
It was replaced by the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 1971 or SOSMA, a law that governs the procedures relating to the arrest, temporary detention, investigation and trial of an individual in place of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) in cases relating to offenses against the state, offences relating to terrorism, organised crime and human trafficking.
“SOSMA cannot be used against any activists or citizens who speak and seek independence with lawful means and without weapon.
“If it is consider seditious and treason, then Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew should have been arrested by the British for seeking independence from the Queen of England when they went to the United Kingdom before Malaysia was born. It is even easier for them to be arrested because they were on British soil at that time.
“Instead, upon Tunku Abdul Rahman’s request, Malaya was granted independence in 1957,” Voon explained.
On the other hand, David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew’s request for independence before the formation of Malaysia in 1963 was turned down by the Queen because the British government wanted to hand Singapore and other British territories in Borneo (Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak) to form Malaya. — DayakDaily