Hornbill Unleashed

October 3, 2014

PKR lawmakers take sedition law protest Down Under

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli will be leading a delegation to Australia to highlight the party's protest against Putrajaya's sedition blitz. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, October 3, 2014.EILEEN NG

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli will be leading a delegation to Australia to highlight the party’s protest against Putrajaya’s sedition blitz.

Six PKR lawmakers are taking their protest against Putrajaya’s sedition blitz to five cities in Australia this month, at a time when governments of both countries have forged closer ties over the Malaysia Airlines’s twin tragedies.PKR vice-president and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli will lead the team to stops in Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney from October 17 to 23.

“Part of our trip is to highlight the sedition crackdown and to update them on the Malaysian economy,” Rafizi told The Malaysian Insider.

His delegation comprises Darell Leiking, who is the MP for Penampang, Sim Tze Tzin (Bayan Baru) and Wong Chen (Kelana Jaya) as well as two assemblymen – Selangor’s Seri Setia representative Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Pahang’s Lee Chean Chung, the Semambu representative.

They will meet Malaysian students, academics, Australian government officials and parliamentarians, including Independent senator Nick Xenophon, who is a close associate of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Malaysia and Australia have worked closely over the disappearance of Beijing-bound Flight MH370 in March, with Australia now leading the international search in the southern Indian Ocean for the wreckage. Australia had six nationals on the flight.

Australia also had 38 victims, including permanent residents, on Flight MH17 that was shot down while flying over the troubled area of eastern Ukraine from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17.

No one survived the Ukraine crash and forensic investigations are still ongoing to retrieve human remains and determine who was responsible for the shooting.

Rafizi noted that there was a lot of interest by Australia, however, on current developments in Malaysia.

Another topic of discussion to be raised is Anwar’s upcoming appeal against his sodomy conviction, he added.

Anwar is appealing to set aside his conviction by the Court of Appeal which found him guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. The appeal is set to be heard by the Federal Court from October 28.

The PKR de facto leader’s political career as an elected representative will end if his conviction is upheld and if he is fined more than RM2,000 or jailed more than a year and does not receive a pardon.

“I feel it is very important to highlight Anwar’s case and the sedition crackdown because there is a lot of interest from the Australian legislators and Malaysian students. They are generally concerned over our human rights record,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Putrajaya’s ongoing sedition dragnet has netted a string of opposition politicians, social activists, law academicians, news portal Malaysiakini and one of its journalists, as well as Muslim preachers, all of whom have either been charged with sedition, facing trial or are under investigation.

Rafizi said the team will speak at forums and dialogues organised by Australian universities on these issues.

In April this year, opposition MP Tony Pua was dropped from the line-up of panellists at the Malaysia Summit Australia (MASA) Conference in Melbourne organised by the Malaysia Students Council of Australia because the main sponsors of the event felt that “it was not in the best interest of everyone”.

Two months later, the Public Service Department (PSD) issued a show-cause letter to one of its scholars, Aslam Abd Jalil, demanding an explanation for his participation in the “Race, Religion and Royalty” forum, organised by the Malaysian Interest Group and ANU Malaysian Students’ Organisation.

“The forums are organised by the university faculties so there is nothing the government can do,” said Rafizi in response to a query on possible actions that Putrajaya could take to stop the roadshow.

“At most, they can only warn government scholars not to attend,” Rafizi said.

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