Saturday, October 15, 2011
Bayan Baru MP Zharain must withdraw his remarks and tender a public apology, failing which he must be prepared to be punished by law
On Wednesday October12 , Bayan Baru MP DatuK Seri Zharain Mohamed Hashim , while taking part in the 2012 Budget parliamentary debate , had made the offensive remarks about the closure of Tamil, Chinese and agama schools.
An extract of the Hansard (verbatim recording of parliamentary debates) is as follows;-
[Tuan Yang di-Pertua mempengerusikan Mesyuarat]
Tuan Yang di-Pertua: Sila, Yang Berhormat Bayan Baru.
Dato' Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim [Bayan Baru]: Terima kasih Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Sebelum saya meneruskan ucapan, saya ingin menjawab apa yang telah dibawa oleh Yang Berhormat Kulim Bandar Baharu tadi sebelum saya akhir ucapan sebelah pagi. Isu sekolah-sekolah yang kita terima dari zaman penjajah dulu. Kita sedar bahawa sekolah-sekolah sekarang ini sekolah aliran Cina, aliran Tamil, aliran agama tidak sepatutnya dijalankan lagi sebab penjajah tinggalkan kita satu sistem yang isu dia divide and rule. Dia memecahbelahkan kita. Akan tetapi, kalau kita masih hendak teruskan bermakna ia akan melahirkan mereka yang pemikiran ekstremis.
Saya sebut Namewee tadi sebagai satu contoh. Akan tetapi kita boleh melihat bahawa ekstremis-ekstremis ini masih wujud. Yang pergi ke sekolah aliran Cina tidak memahami kebudayaan Melayu, kebudayaan India begitu juga yang aliran India dan aliran agama pun sama.
Zharain’s remarks that the Tamil, Chinese and religious schools are dividing the people and producing extremists are totally without basis, offensive and unacceptable.
It is indeed sad that 54 years after the nation has achieved Independence, we still have lawmakers who cannot understand that language is not the cause of racial disunity.
So many people, including present and previous Cabinet ministers, who had gone to Tamil and Chinese primary schools, did they become extremists?
In fact, it is people like Zharain who make such insensitive and offensive remarks who are themselves the extremists!
By calling for the closure of Tamil, Chinese and religious schools, Zahrain has in fact committed the offence of sedition and can be prosecuted in court if a police report is lodged against him.
When commenting on Jerlun MP Datulk Mukriz‘s call for the closure of the vernacular schools in 2008, DAP parliamentary leader, Sdr Lim Kit Siang had said the following: -
“ The Constitution Amendment 1971 entrenching four sensitive issues and imposing an absolute prohibition from any questioning, even removing the parliamentary immunity in parliamentary debates, by classifying them as sedition offences under Section 3(f) of the Sedition Act, does not allow anyone to propose the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools so long as Article 10(4) on the entrenchment of the sensitive issues is not repealed."
He further said:-
“The law is very clear as there had been decided cases – Melan Abdullah v Public Prosecutor (1971) where Utusan Malaysia was found guilty of the sedition offence for its editorial subheading, “Hapuskan Sekolah Beraliran Tamil atau China di-Negeri ini” and Mark Koding v. Public Prosecutor where the Sabah Member of Parliament was found guilty of sedition when he spoke in Parliament in October 1978 calling for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools.”
Zharain has not only made irresponsible, offensive and unacceptable remarks, he has committed sedition and can be punished by law.
Since the Mark Koding’s case, there were others who made such seditious remarks. It is time that those who play with fire must not be allowed to get away.
Zharain must therefore withdraw his remarks and tender a public apology, failing which he must be prepared to be punished by law