LFL is extremely concerned with the on-going witch-hunt against Tian Chua, PKR Member of Parliament following the report “Insiden tembakan di Lahad Datu konspirasi terancang Umno – Tian” published in PKR news portal Keadilan Daily on 1 March 2013 which has since been exaggerated and spun incessantly by senior government leaders, the mainstream media especially Utusan Malaysia and TV3 and pro-Umno bloggers – that finally led to a sedition charge today.
Such a concerted campaign to demonise Tian Chua is extremely irresponsible and detracts from some of the real issues raised by the Lahad Datu militant intruders including national security and intelligence, military spending and capability, unchecked migration and citizenship manipulation, West-East Malaysia politics etc.

Tian Chua has repeatedly clarified the context of his comment that he was referring to Umno’s attempt to divert public attention from the then ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigration in Sabah (which is extremely damaging to BN) and the attempt to link Anwar Ibrahim with the Lahad Datu incident – and not that the deaths were an Umno conspiracy.

Making political or critical comments is not a crime and to criminally charge Tian Chua under section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 is overkill and absurd as sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. If any party is still aggrieved, the right procedure is to file a civil defamation suit against Tian Chua and not to lodge multiple police reports.

According to the Johor police which is leading the investigation, so far more than 318 police reports have been lodged against Tian Chua while 225 statements have been taken from various individuals. This is an extreme waste of valuable public funds and police resources which would have been better used to address real crimes, rather than being squandered on what is clearly a politically motivated offence.

LFL therefore calls on the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers to conduct themselves in a professional, fair and independent manner and not to selectively and in bad faith target opposition leaders when government leaders and others connected to them get away with worse or even criminal behaviour including numerous acts of violence by pro-Umno groups in opposition activities nationwide including the most brazen at the PKR headquarters last Monday.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Co-founder & Adviser
Lawyers for Liberty

14 March 2013

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