“Withdraw Lim Kit Siang’s probe, drop charge against S’gor MB’s aide,” LFL tells authorities

LAWYERS for Liberty (LFL) has urged the authorities to withdraw their probe of DAP veteran Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang and drop the charge against the Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari’s press secretary Jay Jay Dennis.

LFL director Zaid Malek said Putrajaya should halt any investigation into Lim over a statement he made, and that the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) should also drop the charge against Dennis.

Zaid was referring to Lim’s investigation into comments he made about the possibility of a non-Malay being appointed as Prime Minister, as well as Jay Jay’s charging tomorrow (Dec 14) over an alleged X (formerly known as Twitter) posting last year criticising Malacca governor Tun Mohd Ali Rustam for using a police convoy while going out for a family dinner.

“Lim’s statement is accurate in accordance with the Federal Constitution was merely stating a fact when he pronounced that there is nothing that bars a non-Malay from becoming a Prime Minister,” Zaid said in a statement today (Dec 13).

“The fact that some people have taken offence to the statement cannot justify a criminal investigation.”

According to Zaid, the fact that a criminal investigation has been launched for a non-existent crime for stating a fact about the Constitution has brought the administration of justice into mockery and disrepute.

In a similar vein, Zaid said it is equally appalling that the AGC has decided to charge Jay Jay with an offence for his statement questioning the conduct of a high-ranking government official.

“The law confers no special status to anyone in government, whether a governor or a prime minister, to be protected against criticism and to criminalise such criticisms is high-handed and undemocratic.

“Citing a constitutional fact or criticising the conduct of anyone in the government is an exercise of free speech that cannot in any way be construed to be an act that is contrary to national security, public order or morality.

“By allowing Lim to be investigated and Jay Jay to be charged in court, the federal government is in direct violation of the Constitution and is sending an unhealthy message that they are beyond criticism and reproach.”

Zaid also further said that the exchange of ideas or criticisms of the government by citizens is the very essence of a healthy democracy; after all, it is a political system in which the people are empowered to choose their government, and as such, the people must be allowed to freely discuss matters of public interest.

“The protection of free speech enshrined in the constitution serves this very purpose, and exists to ensure that all quarters, not just the perceived majority, can exercise this right.

“The Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government must stay true to its dedication on the protection of freedom of speech and as such must ensure that the public are protected from unwarranted criminal action for the legitimate exercise of their constitutional right,” Zaid concluded. – Dec 13, 2023


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