Politicians who incite, say things that can impact Malaysia’s economy, must be probed, says senior lawyer

Serious allegations made by Malaysian politicians against each other should be investigated by law enforcement agencies in the country.

They include provocative and sensitive statements touching on race and religion that can incite hatred among the people, and allegations of corruption that can impact the nation’s economy.

Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Dr Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos called on the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to keep a close eye on leaders, and would-be leaders, to ensure that they remain responsible for their conduct.

“We have to stop these irresponsible politicians from levelling serious accusations of corruption and so on, which will have a major impact on the nation’s economy,” said Jahaberdeen.

“If the accusations (by politicians) are baseless but serious, they should be prosecuted for criminal defamation.”

Melaka Pakatan Harapan chairman Adly Zahari said if the coalition came into power, it would investigate former prime minister and Perikatan Nasional (PN) leader Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for corrupt practices over the RM500 billion expenditure during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Caretaker Environment and Water minister, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, recently filed a defamation suit against PKR deputy president, Rafizi Ramli, for claiming that the former had approved a RM2 billion project after Parliament was dissolved.

Without referring to any specific individual or comment made, Jahaberdeen said: “You have politicians hurling accusations against each other, and they are allowed to do so without any fear of repercussions.”

“For example, when a politician hurls an accusation regarding the trial or the outcome of the trial of another politician … who is going to defend the judiciary against the remarks made?

“We keep allowing politicians to make such comments and get away with them. If anyone else makes such statements, they will be hauled up.”

Jahaberdeen said that if there was a basis to charge the politicians, the authorities should do so.

“If there is no basis, then we need to see if the comments were made mala fide. If they were, then the politician should be charged with criminal defamation.”

Several politicians also received flak for their incendiary speeches while campaigning in the 15th General Election in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin came under fire for telling people not to vote Pakatan Harapan, alleging that the coalition was backed by a group of Jews and Christians who were pushing for a Christianisation agenda in the country.

The Pagoh MP later said his comments had been taken out of context and were selectively edited. He said his comments came after a video – in which foreign religious groups appeared to be praying for the government to fall into the hands of the opposition – made its rounds during the campaign period for GE15.

He added that his speech had lasted 55 minutes, but the edited video was only one minute and 35 seconds long.

Perak DAP chief, Nga Kor Ming meanwhile, had said that Malaysia would become like Afghanistan if PN came into power.

Nga had reportedly said that Pas, which is part of PN, would push for extremist policies on gambling, concerts, alcohol, and gender segregation.

In 2019, Nga had said that Malaysia could end up being a ‘Taliban state’ if an Umno-Pas coalition became a reality.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, in a statement on Tuesday, warned that jail time and fines awaited those who spread hate speech, especially involving royalty, race, and religion, online.

Tagged with: