Alleging ‘double standards’, group calls for fair anti-hate laws

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Global Human Rights Federation deputy president Peter John Jaban said the group had sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Feb 17 on the proposed law, and had done the same in 2018 during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration. – Photo via Facebook/Peter John Jaban

KUCHING (March 2): The Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) has proposed the implementation of a Racial and Religious Hate Act in order to maintain peace, unity and harmony in multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia.

Its deputy president Peter John Jaban said the group had sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Feb 17 on the proposed law, and had done the same in 2018 during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration.

“Recently, the Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim spoke out on racial and religious insults and provocations during the re-tabling of Budget 2023 on Friday, Feb 24, but nothing was mentioned with regard to implementing a strict ruling or a change to the administration of the law on the matter,” he said in a statement today.

Peter urged Anwar to end alleged “double standards” in the implementation of hate-speech laws following the Shah Alam High Court’s recent decision to dismiss a bid to prosecute preachers for allegedly insulting other faiths.

“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),” he said.

He pointed out that GHRF had been submitting memoranda to ministries and Bukit Aman since the administration of Barisan Nasional (BN), claiming that there was ample evidence and proof to prosecute the culprits and the recent court decision was “just another slap in the face.”

On Monday, the Shah Alam High Court had dismissed the bid by GHRF president S. Shashi Kumar to commence private prosecution against two Muslim converts – Firdaus Wong and Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu – for allegedly insulting the faiths and religious practices of non-Muslims.

Judicial commissioner Wendy Ooi ruled that there was no merit in the appeal against magistrate Redza Azhar Rezali’s decision on Sept 3, 2021, to disallow Shashi’s application as the matter was still under investigation.

“It is as if the government is giving Zamri, Firdaus and others a free rein to continue making similar ‘seditious’ statements against non-Islamic faiths,” said Peter, who is also Sarawak Associations for People’s Aspiration (SAPA) information and publicity chief.

He said the GHRF will appeal the High Court’s decision.