On 9th October 1999, Hishamuddin Tun Hussein made a police report at the Bukit Mertajam police station alleging that Puan Hajjah Marina Yusof had made a seditious statement on 29th September that same year in Bukit Mertajam. Recently, Marina was arrested by the police and charged in the Bukit Mertajam Sessions Court for sedition. Marina’s trial has been fixed for 17th April 2000.
Marina Yusof was charged based on Hishamuddin’s police report. In Malaysia no one can be charged in court unless a police report is made against them. Hishamuddin, therefore, is instrumental in Marina’s present predicament as, without his police report, no action could be taken as Marina.
But what did Marina Yusof really say that day in Bukit Mertajam and how seditious was her statement? Well, according to what is stated in Hishamuddin’s police report, this (roughly translated into English) is what Marina was alleged to have said:
"Mahathir is trying to frighten the Chinese that if BN loses there will be a May 13. But I want to ask, why be scared? If the Barisan Alternatif comes to power we will arrest him (Mahathir) if he causes trouble. I want to tell the Malays, Chinese and Indians, the cause of May 13 was started by UMNO and Selangor led by Dato’ Harun. So, those Chinese who support the Barisan do not think this is good because in the past UMNO, which is in the Barisan, killed Chinese. The Chinese must note that we do not want to create trouble, we do not want turmoil in the country, we do not want our children killed. This is Mahathir’s final threat. He wants the Chinese to be frightened that there will be trouble, business will decline and their children’s safety will be in jeopardy. We give a guarantee that if all the Chinese support us we will look after their safety. We want the Chinese in the Chinese areas to look after the Malays, and the Indians in the Indian areas to look after the Malays. We do not want to segregate the Malays, Chinese and Indians. We want a Malaysian race."
That was what Marina Yusof was alleged to have said, according to Hishamuddin’s police report and, for saying that, Marina has been dragged into court and probably, eventually, thrown into jail for the next few years.
But what I cannot understand is, what was it that Marina was alleged to have said that was so wrong? All she did was to assure the Chinese of their safety and that she strives for a Malaysian society based on equality and not based on racial discrimination – which is what the Chinese have been asking for all along.
If you ask me, I would say Dr. Mahathir was the one who made seditious statements and he should have been the one Hishamuddin made a police report against. Let me quote you the newspaper reports in the two weeks run-up to the Tenth General Elections.
Monday, 15th November, 1999 KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the Barisan Nasional election campaign when he "sounded" the signal for the BN Youth and Wanita movements to storm the opposition and ensure a two-thirds majority for the BN in the Nov 29 general election. Addressing some 15,000 Youth and Wanita members of the BN component parties at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here, Dr Mahathir, who is Umno President and BN chairman, called on the BN Youth members to ensure that the general election proceeded smoothly and peacefully and the BN was returned to power. Dr Mahathir said it was vital that the BN Youth cooperate with the enforcement officers to ensure a peaceful situation as there was a possibility the opposition especially the National Justice Party (Keadilan) would resort to riots so that the election would be a failure when the party finds it does not have the support of the people. He said that the opposition would create trouble so that the general election would be unsuccessful when they realise that they would definitely be defeated and maybe trounced 100 per cent. "Keadilan will be the one to be defeated 100 per cent. When the general election has proceeded halfway and there is no support for them, and out of disappointment, their leaders will ask them to riot as this is the way of the Keadilan - rioting in the streets." Tuesday, 16th November, 1999 KUALA LUMPUR: MCA urged the Chinese community to stick to "peace and stability" with the ruling BN coalition, saying a vote for the DAP is also a vote for its Islamic ally. "The Chinese community is fully aware that one vote for DAP is one vote for Nik Aziz and PAS," he said, referring to PAS' spiritual leader. PAS has controlled Kelantan, the only opposition-led state, since 1990. Asked if Chinese votes would be pivotal to the ruling National Front coalition as the Anwar issue had divided the Malays, Ling said "every single vote is important." He said attacks last year on Indonesian Chinese and fears of racial strife "could be one of the factors" that would swing local Chinese votes to the Government. Wednesday, 17th November, 1999 KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he is not worried whether Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can erode the support for Umno or otherwise. The Umno president and Barisan Nasional (BN) Chairman said what he was worried about was that the former Deputy Premier had created crisis in the country. "This has been the history ever since 1974 which shows that when he is frustrated and blocked, he will try to create chaos. "In 1974, he lied and claimed that a child had died of starvation (in Baling) and students were then asked to demonstrate," he told a special interview with TV3 Tuesday. Dr Mahathir said when Anwar was arrested in September last year, he again urged his supporters to demonstrate and destroy Umno and government properties and later claimed he was being poisoned to induce his supporters to stage demonstrations. "I'm convinced that when he (Anwar) finds that Keadilan will fail, lose, may be defeated 100 per cent, then in order to save himself, he will try to frustrate the general election by staging riots. And I'm convinced he will also get assistance from foreign countries." Well, there you have it. Mahathir’s statements were very much seditious if ever I did see one. He guaranteed that there would be riots if the opposition loses. In fact, Ling Liong Sik even went so far as to insult Islam. Now that is seditious. I wonder why none of these people are being brought to court even though police reports have been made against them. I suppose this would be a perfect reflection of our legal system.
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