Police arrests and investigations under Section 124B in the current crackdown against the Ministerial assurances when the law was passed in Parliament that this section will only be used against those who used “violent and unconstitutional means”
Until a month ago, nobody has heard of Section 124B but in the past few weeks, Section 124B of the Penal Code has forced itself into public consciousness as the new monstrous weapon which the Najib administration is using to launch a major crackdown and usher a new Dark Age in Malaysia.
How many people have been arrested or investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code.
I do not know, but it is safe to say that never have so many people been arrested or investigated under Section 124B of the Penal Code on “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which can send a person to jail for a maximum of 20 years – and all these police arrests and investigations are against the ministerial assurances given to Parliament in 2012 when the new law was enacted that it would only be used against those who carry out “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” by “violent and unconstitutional means”.
When pressed in Parliament on why Section 124B had not spelt out clearly that Section 124B only referred to “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” by “violent and unconstitutional means”, the then de facto Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz claimed that this is understood and even referred to Oxford Dictionary that “activities detrimental to Parliamentary Democracy” means “by violent and unconstitutional means”.
When Nazri presented the Penal Code amendment of the new Section 124B, Parliament was in fact given to understand that it was meant to tackle terrorism previously covered by the already repealed Internal Security Act.
Unfortunatley, what was clear and obvious to the Law Minister in 2012 at the time of the passage of Section 124B in Parlaiment is no more “clear and obvious” whether to the new Attorney-General or the Inspector-General of Police as I dare say that all the police arrests and investigations under Section 124B in the past month do not have the element of “violent or unconstitutional means”.
It would appear that we have reached a stage where anyone who wants to have a change of Prime Minister or government is liable to be investigated, arrested and charged under Section 124B for “activities detrimental to Parliamentary Democracy” which is a total betrayal of both the Parliamentary and Ministerial intention in enacting Section 124B of the Penal Code.
The majority of Malaysians (as the Umno/BN government is a minority government winning only 47 per cent of the popular vote in the 13th General Election) would want to see Datuk Seri Najib Razak toppled as Prime Minister and the UMNO/BN Government replaced as well.
But this cannot bring them under the ambit of Section 124B of the Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which can send those guilty under this section to 20 years in jail because they reject any violent or unconstitutional means of change and are only committed to peaceful, democratic and constitutional means of change or toppling of the Prime Minsiter or government.
If a law which is meant to deal with the advocates of violent and unconstitutional means of political change could be used on those advocating peaceful, democratic and constitutional means of political change, it would even mean the death of democracy itself!