Sanusi’s sedition charges show the hypocrisy of liberals, says academic | MalaysiaNow

The recent cases against Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor show the prejudice in the attitude of liberals who often talk about freedom of speech in Malaysia and call for the repeal of laws such as the Sedition Act, an academic said as the waves of prosecution of the Kedah menteri besar continued.

Shafizan Mohamed, a lecturer at the International Islamic University Malaysia, also said the group will still find ways to justify their stance.

“His statement was made against Amirudin Shari,” he said, referring to the Selangor menteri besar whose appointment Sanusi had questioned in a political speech.

“But it became a 3R issue,” she added, using the initialism for issues related to race, religion and royalty.

“Those who have been so open all this time are suddenly saying ‘long live the king’.”

Describing the times as the “post-truth” era, he said everyone is now free to create their own version of the truth.

“The truth is whatever you want it to be, until even people are confused.”

Sanusi’s charges under the Sedition Act have sparked expressions of concern, with critics citing Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) pledge to repeal the law during its election campaigns.

Former Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah was among those who spoke, along with rights group Lawyers for Liberty and political parties such as Muda.

Sanusi, the Jeneri assemblyman, was charged on July 18 with uttering inflammatory words during a political talk regarding the appointment of Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari and the formation of a coalition government.

As he apologized to the Selangor leader, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said in a statement that the issue had not yet been resolved.

Communication expert Abd Aziz Aizam said some parties that had previously spoken out against the action appeared to have made a U-turn.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he cited a case where PKR member Iswardy Morni was charged under the Sedition Act in 2021.

“Those who criticized the act before are now supporting it, and some who used to support it are now criticizing it,” he said.

Politics vs. respect for royalty

Meanwhile, analyst Kartini Aboo Talib said Malays are loyal to their leaders but still view Sanusi’s allegations as bias.

Kartini, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said others had not been charged despite being accused of making racial remarks.

He is believed to be referring to DAP chairman Lim Guan Eng, who was recently quoted by the China Press as saying the “green wave” would mean the end of non-Muslim religious rights.

“Of course, the Malays voted in response to the ‘green wave’,” he said, referring to the phrase used by DAP leaders to describe Perikatan Nasional’s gains in the last general election.

Lim, the Bagan MP, is being investigated by the police under the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act.

Kartini said Sanusi’s charges also brought into question the extent to which the influence of the royal institution and the Malays’ respect for it would determine the voting pattern in state elections.

The Selangor leader, for example, once openly criticized former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad who led PH at the time.

The Johor palace also issued a statement indicating that the Barisan Nasional government should be retained.

For her part, Kartini believes that royal criticism of political leaders will not have much impact on voters.

“Political literacy is very good in Malaysia,” she said. “Respect for leaders and institutions are different matters.”

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