Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Police told me criticising GST is seditious, Rafizi says

BY LOOI SUE-CHERN

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli campaigning for party president and candidate for the Permatang Pauh by-election Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at Seberang Jaya, Penang May 4, 2015. Rafizi says according to police, criticising the goods and services tax (GST) is now seditious. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 5, 2015.

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli campaigning for party president and candidate for the Permatang Pauh by-election Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at Seberang Jaya, Penang May 4, 2015. Rafizi says according to police, criticising the goods and services tax (GST) is now seditious. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 5, 2015.
Police told PKR's Rafizi Ramli that criticising the goods and services tax (GST) was seditious, the party secretary-general said last night when he told a ceramah crowd in Permatang Pauh of his arrest after the May 1 Workers Day rally.
Rafizi, who was detained for his involvement in the rally against the GST in Kuala Lumpur, said he was told that what he had said in his speech at the rally was seditious.
"The police told me I was investigated under the Sedition Act, as my speech had criticised the GST. Now I know that according to the government of Malaysia, it is seditious to criticise the GST," Rafizi said.
The consumption tax has been the focus of PKR's campaign in the Permatang Pauh by-election. The opposition party is banking on public unhappiness with the tax to ensure it retains the seat, which its president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is contesting.
As part of her campaign, Dr Wan Azizah went shopping at a supermarket followed by the media to show how much more people had to spend because of the tax when buying basic necessities. PKR also held a lobster party, dishing out grilled lobsters to passers-by in the constituency to poke fun at the implementation of the tax, which is not imposed on lobsters, considered a luxury food item.
Rafizi also said he was told by police that criticising the prime minister was seditious.
"Next, he said my speech criticised the prime minister. So that is also not allowed now. It is also seditious.
"And I also shouted 'hidup rakyat' (long live the people) many times.
"So after this, we have to say 'mampus rakyat' (damn the people)," he told the crowd at the Seberang Jaya expo site while on the campaign trail for the parliamentary by-election to be held this Thursday.
The rest of Rafizi's ceramah speech was full of sarcasm as he praised the consumption tax and said positive things about Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and the Finance Ministry-owned strategic investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
He also quipped that the Permatang Pauh by-election was being held because Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was "on holiday" in the Sungai Buloh prison. The opposition leader had to vacate the parliamentary seat after the Federal Court upheld his sodomy conviction and five-year prison sentence in February.
"If I talk like this, I couldn't get arrested right?" Rafizi said, adding that it was "easy to get arrested these days".
Rafizi was detained on May 2, a day after the rally, when he went to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters to give his statement on his involvement in the protest which drew an estimated 10,000 people to the heart of the capital.
He is being investigated under Section 143 of the Penal Code for unlawfully assembly, as well as the Sedition Act. He was released later at night on the same day.
Besides Rafizi, other opposition politicians arrested over the rally include PKR's Batu MP Chua Tian Chang or Tian Chua, PAS MP for Kuala Kerai Dr Hatta Ramli, DAP's Seremban MP Anthony Loke, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S. Arutchelvan.
A few activists were also arrested, the most high profile being Negara-Ku patron and former president of the Malaysian Bar Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
Twenty-nine youths, six of whom were minors, were the first group of people to be arrested hours after the rally ended peacefully on Friday. The minors were released the next day but police have obtained remand orders of the 23 others, who are expected to be released today. – May 5, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/police-told-me-criticising-gst-is-seditious-rafizi-says#sthash.W2ND0DNn.dpuf

No comments: