communication becoming instantaneous, the situation may have changed. They no longer “fear” those dubious threats but view the police from a different perspective altogether.
The knowledgeable ones see the police as “bullies engaged in selective prosecution” and when asked, they offer some justification and incidents to support their theory.
Journalists have also been victims. After covering the Bersih 4 rally two years ago my colleague then, Radzi Razak, was brutally beaten up by a group of policemen, which required him to be hospitalised for a week. The police were supposed to be investigating their own men and to date, there has been no news.
Remember the episode of policemen jumping over the gates of journalist Sidek Kasimo’s house in the wee hours of the morning two months ago? What offence did he commit? They arrested him and drove him all the way to Johor Baru and even sought a remand order to further detain him, which was rightly refused by the magistrate.
His supposed offence in the eyes of the police was that he had posted about holy water and a religious leader. To date, no charges have been filed and neither has he been told that he’s been exonerated.
What about Jeluting MP Jeff Ooi being “ordered to surrender” by the IGP? What was his offence? He used the word “adios” (goodbye) in a parting message to a religious leader who had passed on. Two months after that grand order, which was given prominent coverage in newspapers and on prime time television, the whole issue fizzled out with a whimper.
Last week, Malaysiakini was on the receiving end of similar treatment. The police want to investigate the news portal under Section 124C which reads: “Whoever attempts to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy or does any act preparatory thereto shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to fifteen years.”
The basis for such action are media reports that it received funds from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations. How does this constitute such an activity? Does it mean that the receipt of money is a preparatory act?
If this is the case, I must make a confession before they come after me. When I was studying in England, I was given a grant by the university to undertake a study trip to the Sports Law Institute at the Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the US. Many Malaysians who are studying overseas are under the auspices of foreign governments and companies. There are also many NGOs including consumer movements which receive funding from foreign sources. Can the police assume these are preparatory acts and cast aspersions on us?
Then again, a group of men turned up at the Malaysiakini office on Thursday, demanding that the management produce the accounts and threatened to “runtuh” (bring down) part of the building on Saturday.
The mere utterance of the threat is tantamount to criminal intimidation under Section 503 which reads: “Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as a means of avoiding the execution of such threat, commits criminal intimidation.”
The police did not act on the threat despite a report being lodged on Friday. The same group of men