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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fearful of "selective prosecution", Nazri refuses to act against Ibrahim Ali

Sulaiman Kamal | 7:28 PM | Best Blogger Tips

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Fearful of "selective prosecution", Nazri refuses to act against Ibrahim Ali
Minister in Prime Minister's Department Nazri Aziz, known for his off-tangent remarks, may have outdone himself with the latest explanation why the BN could not act against Malay rights rabble-rouser Ibrahim Ali for making a speech that has been widely condemned as highly seditious.
His words recorded for posterity, Nazri said the BN government could not do so because "we cannot be selective in our prosecution".
Nazri, who is also the de-facto Law minister, was immediately shot down for his "preposterous" comments.
"This is Nazri at his most absurd. The question is only whether Ibrahim has committed an offence under the law. This Ibrahim has under Section 298a Penal Code," PKR vice president N Surendran told Malaysia Chronicle.
"Also I can't recall any other person calling for a crusade against members of another religion in this country. This is the most extreme statement of this nature that I know of in recent times."
Nazri had explained that remarks such as Ibrahim's were not uncommon on Twitter sites and Malaysian blogs. Should the authorities go after Ibrahim, they would also have to crack down on all the others, he said.
"It's difficult to take action against Ibrahim now with the existence of Twitter and blogs,"Malaysiakini reported the minister as saying.
If a non-Malay had made the comment against Muslims
Ibrahim Ali, known for his political opportunism, is the president of ultra-Malays rights group Perkasa. Perkasa itself is an offshoot of Umno with the vast majority of its 200,000-odd members coming from the conservative right-wing in Umno.
At a recent rally, eyes bulbous with anger, chins trembling with emotion, the portly Ibrahim slammed Christians in the country as "ungrateful", saying that the thought of Christians demanding that their religion superceded Islam made his blood "boil".
He vowed to defend Islam even if Perkasa members had to die in the process, "sprawling in blood".
“If they want a crusade, so be it. If they say that the peace that we enjoy is not good enough we shall take up the challenge. Don't take the silence of Muslims as a sign of fear,” Ibrahim warned in a fiery speech on Saturday night.
“Before our followers fall in this battle, Perkasa leaders will first lay down their lives and die sprawling in blood.”
Calls for his arrest and prosecution under the Sedition Act immediately followed, but no action was taken despite police reports being lodged.
The conspicuous lack of response by the BN government has created an avalanche of compliants on cyber-space.
One of the most common was that if any non-Malay - regardless of position or rank - had made such a speech against Muslims, he or she would have been arrested within 24 hours.
"Please, don't insult our intelligence," MP for Taiping Nga Kor Ming told Malaysia Chronicle.
"Ibrahim's statement was completely disgusting and highly seditious. It shows a very sad lack of will by the Umno leaders to take action against him. This is a very bad message to the rest of the country especially the other races. Does it mean that certain Malay leaders cannot be punished no matter what wrong they have committed? Is this fair? Is this in accordance with the tenets of Islam?"
All eyes on MCA, Gerakan, East Malaysian parties
Within the Umno-dominated BN, non-Muslim leaders have chided Ibrahim including Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon, the national unity minister, and the MCA.
It now remains to be seen if they will take Nazri to task and lobby the Cabinet for action to be taken against Ibrahim.
Sabahans and Sarawakians - many of whom are Christians - will also be watching to see if their elected representatives speak for them.
"MCA and Gerakan have to show how real their statements condemning Ibrahim Ali are. Nazri has again slapped Chua Soi Lek and Koh Tsu Koon in their faces. Will they rush back into their tortoise shells as they have always done, or will they finally put their foot down once and for all," Batu MP Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
Meanwhile, Christian leaders said the way the BN government reacted would "bring its own consequences".
"Ibrahim is actually just a small voice. I say, ignore him. Christians must unite and look at the greater picture of where they wish to help to take this country. In allowing Ibrahim off, the BN's reaction will draw its own response amongst the electorate," Rev Thomas Philips, head of interfaith-group MCCBCHST, toldMalaysia Chronicle.

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