(Yul Brynner as the majestic King of Siam in the classic movie King and I – he was born to play the role. Can you image what would have happened if a group of people walked up to the palace and demanded the King of Siam to be replaced with their “a bit-lost” leader? They would have arrested immediately and hanged for high treason. Image source: http://www.doctormacro.com)
At the aftermath of the Lahad Datu intrusion, this was reported back then:-
Eight Filipinos were charged in a Magistrates Court in Lahad Datu today with waging war against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, after their armed intrusion in Sabah ended in deadly clashes with Malaysian security forces. The eight men who were arrested by Malaysia were charged under the Penal Code with waging war against the king and for terrorism.
But of course in the Bolehland, double standards and liberal interpretation of the law when it comes to the opposition can be joke of the day:-
Detaining 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists for allegedly waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is an extreme interpretation of the law and has been taken out of context, legal experts said. They said the interpretation of Section 122 of the Penal Code was done in “bad faith”.
Thirty of them have been remanded for seven days by the Butterworth magistrate’s court while 16-year-old S Ragu has been released unconditionally.
Police have also seized various items related to the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). They were detained under four charges – illegal assembly, sedition, publishing pamphlets and leaflets against the Printing and Publications Act, and allegedly waging war against the King (under Section 122).
No true blood Malaysian including yours truly would stand aside and let anyone to wage war against the King. Waging war against the Yang Dipertuan Agong who represents the sovereign of this nation is serious and is high treason.
So when a group of foreigners invaded Lahad Datu and held their claim on a stake of the nation, we were very pissed off and rightfully these invaders (if they are not killed by our security forces) have been charged with waging war against the King. The same charge against PSM may have been a big screw up and a political one (it was clarified later that it was directed to BN and not the King).
However waging war against the King remains a serious charge and so when a group of disillusioned people walked up to the Istana Negara and tried to replace the Yang Dipertuan Agong with their own leader, it reminded us of the same blatant intrusion to our sovereignty in Lahad Datu back then.
It was a good thing that the police had acted swiftly by stopping them on their tracks and arrested them. We expected them to be charged accordingly and further investigations to be done to the extent of the influence and the potent threat posed by this group. After all, if they may have tried to “attack” the palace and dispose the king through passive means and failed, what’s stopping them from taking one step further by trying the same with more aggressive methods?
So it was a “surprise” and disappointing when this was reported:-
Police will not be taking further action against a group who tried to enter the Istana Negara and tried to ‘replace’ the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with their own leader. “They are a non-violent group that is a bit lost,”
City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah told reporters, adding that police will be referring the case to religious authorities. He said investigations into the group that called itself Kumpulan Panji Hitam dari Timur Empayar Langkasuka Nusantara have concluded that they were not a threat.
The group was dressed in black and armed with flags when they gathered in front of the main entrance of the palace at about 4.10am on Aug 5 and were arrested by police shortly after.
Ten people were arrested including an 11-year-old girl who was the daughter of the group’s leader. She and her mother, aged 52, were released from detention after two days while the other eight men would be remanded until Aug 17.
When the opposition politicians assembled to campaign on the pitfall of the current government, they were detained and charged with illegal assembly, sedition, publishing pamphlets and leaflets against the Printing and Publications Act, and allegedly waging war against the King. But when another group of people does the same, they were deemed as harmless and a bit lost – with no further charge were taken against them?
One had to question what’s going on here and what have changed between the two incidents?
Well, it is all fine if indeed they are harmless and a bit lost, no point of charging them further – it will only cause the court, police and the tax-payers unnecessary time and money. But unfortunately staging protest in front of the palace, demanding for a change of the Yang Dipertuan Agong is very serious even for dumb, lost, sick persons.
And ignorance of the law should not be a defence.
Thus whilst I am not questioning the wisdom of the police in their investigations, I personally feel that the police should not have made such announcement that they are harmless and will not be charged so public – refer them to the religious authorities by all means but don’t absorb them from any criminal wrongdoings. There is still element of illegal assembly, trespassing and sedition.
I hope despite the announcement by the police that no action will be taken on this group, they are keeping a very close eye on this group and their activities even though they may have more pressing matters to attend to.
They need to for 2 key reasons:-
1. To stress the point that protesting and demanding the King to be replaced cannot be tolerated in this country. You may protest of any unwise decision or statement by the King (or any other royalties for that sake) but you cannot demand them to be replaced. Constitutional monarchy is part and parcel of this nation identity and respect. And;
2. To stress that being dumb and being a bit loss is no excuse to avoid the long reach of the law (perhaps the only exception that this may be allowed is if you are politician). The last thing we need to set a very dangerous precedent – that any Tom, Dick and Harry can go around breaking the law and then claim that they are harmless and a bit loss.
Waging war against the King is as good as waging war against Malaysians – we should not let anyone who does that to go free on the notion of them being a bit lost.
I hope that the police will be more alert on similar cases and take the right action against them instead of letting them off scot-free. I am sure this will not be last time we will hearing about this group if close monitoring is not done. I also hope that the police will be more careful on what they say in public as it may bring about a wrong perception the enforcement of the law especially after one had seen how selective prosecution and double standard enforcement works in this country.