Ambiga: Stop harassing Christians

Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has called on the authorities to stop harassing Christians.

Dec 24, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan has called on the authorities to stop harassing Christians.

Ambiga said the 10-point agreement on these issues must be explained to the police and other enforcement officers. “Malaysia is fast gaining fame for its Bible-seizing activities.”

“I believe the public deserves to know where these orders to seize and arrest are coming from, and the basis of those orders,” she said.

Ambiga was responding to the police seizing hymn books containing the word ‘Allah’ from Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam (right) in Johor. She also concurred with views expressed by lawyer Andrew Khoo, who said Section 298A of the Penal Code, which was used to detain the Catholic priest, had already been declared unconstitutional in 1988 and was struck out.

“I agree with Khoo. I am particularly disturbed at the high-handed approach by the police,” Ambiga said.

On Dec 5, Johor police detained Fr Cyril for questioning after he had sent the hymn books for photocopying in Tangkak.

The books were meant for Orang Asli parishioners. However, the police opted not to pursue a case against the priest.

Meanwhile, current Bar Council president Christopher Leong said the provision used to detain and initially probe the priest was void as it was “too vague”.

“Section 298A was, in any event a bad law. It was unconstitutional because it was too vague in its definition and wide in its ambit,”

Leong told Malaysiakini in a text message. Leong said the defects of the law were similar to the defects in the Sedition Act 1948, which he said lacked the “mental element of criminal intent.”

“As a provision for a criminal offence, it offends the basic requirements of clarity, specificity and criminal intent.

“It also does not require the mental element of criminal intent. It therefore suffers from the same defects as the Sedition Act,” he added.

The struck-out law relates to the offence of causing disharmony, disunity or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion. -- Malaysiakini

Total Comments:0

Name
Email
Comments