When flying the Israeli flag is now a crime in Malaysia but OK with the Palestinian flag

Letter to editor

I READ with disbelief the news that a man in Marang has been sentenced to six months in jail and fined RM500 by a Magistrate Court in Marang for flying the Israeli flag last October.

The accused, Harma Zulfika Deraman, 30, also faces an additional three months in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

Supposedly, Harma had broken the National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949 by displaying the Israeli flag in a public place.

I don’t understand why Harma was fined and jailed for flying the Israeli flag when flying the Palestinian flag does not break the National Emblems Act.

Source: New Straits Times, Nov 30, 2023

I am assuming that flying the Palestinian flag does not contravene the law that Harma purportedly broke because thousands of people have been flying the Palestinian flag in multiple demonstrations and protests held all over the country recently.

None of them have been charged with breaking the National Emblem Act. I can understand that it is illegal to fly the Israeli flag if it is also illegal to fly the Palestinian flag – but I don’t understand why it is legal to fly one flag but illegal to fly the other flag?

Lopsided law?

Are we Malaysians or Palestinians? Has Malaysia declared war on Israel? Why are we taking sides in this war? What we know is that Malaysia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel.

I can understand the sentimental attachment that some Malaysians, especially Muslims, might have for the Palestinians.

The Tamils – my own people – have a sentimental attachment to the Tamils in Sri Lanka during the Sinhala-Tamil civil war in Sri Lanka, too, but the law should be based on principles as oppose to sentiments.

Some of us might believe that the Palestinians are on the side of right while the Israeli is on the side of wrong, but this is just our personal belief; it is not an official stance.

Until our Parliament declares war on Israel or officially denotes Israel as a terrorist state, nobody should be allowed to take the law in our hands – and advocate for their own particular inclination – or proclivities by using the instrument of state when there is no official consensus about the subject. – Nov 30, 2023


Nehru Sathiamoorthy
Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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