— Yow Hong Chieh
The Malaysian Insider
Jan 24, 2012
JAN 24 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) promotes equality for all, regardless of religion or race, and stronger civil liberties as the bedrock for a more modern, progressive Malaysia.
The pact says all basic rights enshrined in the Constitution will be upheld when it takes power, rights that Barisan Nasional (BN) has denied to the people on more than one occasion.
Among the fundamental rights that PR trumpets whenever it wishes to rally its supporters is the freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of movement.
But if the opposition believes in these freedoms, why is it we still see people like Faekah Husin, political secretary to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, proposing that the outspoken Datuk Ibrahim Ali be banned from the state for being a nuisance?
Freedom is for everyone, not just those who happen to agree with you.
Faekah, you and many others may not like what Ibrahim says, but suggesting that a state-wide embargo be put on the Perkasa chief smacks of the very same petulance PR has accused BN of many a time.
"I don't like you so I don't friend you" is not the kind of response I'd hoped for from a high-level representative of a coalition which champions rule of law.
Whatever happened to defending to the death someone's right to speak even if you disagree with what they're saying? By all means, if you think it's slander or libel, sue. At least that's a legal matter for the court to decide, not a half-baked idea born out of political vendetta.
We are all entitled to our opinions. And there's a terribly good chance our views will not be shared by all or even most.
So we start to ban everyone whose speech we find distasteful because we think we have the power to do so? Let's just say the Selangor state assembly hall will be half-empty.
Fortunately, PKR legal affairs director Latheefa Koya had the good sense to rebuke her colleague on Twitter last night: "PKR strongly believes in freedom of movmnt 4 all msians including obnoxious ppl. we dont agree w any move 2 ban anybody-unprincipled &illegal."
But I can't help but wonder now just how many PKR veterans will readily resort to the same unfair tactics BN has deployed to stifle dissenting views once they make it to Putrajaya, if Faekah is any measure.
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