PETALING JAYA: No man or woman should be above the law but in Malaysia, this principle of justice appears to have been neglected, said human rights lawyer S Ambiga.
“We saw several people assaulting an MP and they might get away with just a RM100 fine.
“Then we saw Lena Hendry fined RM10,000 for airing a documentary that is already in the public domain. And the prosecutors are appealing for a higher sentence.
“The higher you go, the less accountability, the less (chances that) you will be charged,” she said at the third annual Day of Solidarity talk held here today.
Ambiga was referring to two cases that have made national headlines.
The first involved Firdaus Tajuddin and seven others, who were charged under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 195 for allegedly assaulting Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad on Parliament grounds last year.
Firdaus is the son of Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman.
The second saw Pusat Komas programme manager Hendry fined RM10,000 after she was found guilty of the charge under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act for showing “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”.
It was a documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war that lasted 26 years.
“That’s where we have a problem and we all can see it. There is a lack of justice,” added Ambiga.
“They (those above the law) think they can get away with it. They think we are not watching or listening, but we are.
“We see the erosion of justice that is happening here.”
The talk, themed “Pilgrimage Towards Justice and Peace”, was organised by the Malaysian Council of Churches and the Conference of Religious Major Superiors (Roman Catholic Church).
Present was social activist Marina Mahathir and former law minister Zaid Ibrahim.
Ambiga, who is the president of the national human rights society, Hakam, said the country’s institutions have failed the public who looked up to them to act in a fair and just manner.
She also slammed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia who, on Thursday, made the surprise decision to defer debates on PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s motion to table his private member’s bill.
The bill seeks to increase the shariah courts’ punitive powers.
“There can only be political reasons for his actions. And it is so irresponsible for a leader to act like that,” said Ambiga.