Sunday, January 18, 2015

PKR: Najib's U-turn fails to quell Umno right-wing

11:49AM Jan 17, 2015

As Umno chief Najib Abdul Razak's attempt to appease his Umno critics with his Sedition Act U-turn appears to have failed, the PM could still redeem himself by abolishing the Act altogether, said PKR.

"Najib foolishly believed he could appease right-wing elements in Umno, including former Umno chief Dr Mahathir Mohamad, by announcing the retention of the Sedition Act 1948.

"But they have since only increased their attacks upon him," said PKR Padang Serai MP N Surendran in a statement today.

He pointed out Najib's decision to renege on his pre-election promise in 2012 to abolish the colonial era law was made not as the prime minister, but a party chief.

"Against all democratic principles, the decision to retain the Sedition Act was not announced by Najib as prime minister, but by Najib as president of Umno at the Umno general assembly.

"Have we entered the era of party rule now? Is Umno running the cabinet and government?

"This breakdown of democratic governance drags our country into party authoritarianism, and bodes ill for our nation," said Surendran, who is also a victim in the sedition dragnet unleashed last year.

'Principles abandoned for expediency'

Surendran, who is also PKR central committee member, was charged with sedition following the comments he made on YouTube regarding the Court of Appeal decision over his client and party chief Anwar Ibrahim's Sodomy II trial.

However he has succeeded in securing a stay on his charge pending a challenge to the constitutionality of the Sedition Act.

The Padang Serai MP said Najib still has a chance to "redeem himself" by repealing the Sedition Act in the March session of Parliament instead of amending it, as announced.

Alleging Najib's U-turn, made to a standing ovation at last year's Umno general assembly, only showed the initial promise to repeal the Act was aimed at winning favour with voters in the 13th general election that was looming at the time.

"To go back on such a public promise is to mislead and cheat the Malaysian public. It is not only a setback for democracy, but shakes public confidence in government and public officials.

"In our political history, it is an unprecedented abandonment of principle in favour of cynical short-term political expediency," said Surendran.

~ Malaysiakini

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