PETALING JAYA: A group of 47 organisations has urged the government to meet PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu in a debate instead of prosecuting him over a quarrel about history.
In a press statement released today, they said the decision to charge him brought into question Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s sincerity in his recent announcement of democratic reforms and pledge of openness.
The statement was signed by Wong Chin Huat of Writers Alliance for Media Independence on behalf of 45 non-governmental organisations as well as Parti Sosialis Malaysia and the Pakatan Rakyat Elected Officers Association.
“We urge the government to immediately drop the politically-motivated charge … and stop intimidating dissidents who oppose and challenge official history and ideology,” Wong said.
Mohamad Sabu, popularly known as Mat Sabu, was charged today with defaming several policemen and their families in a speech mentioning the Feb 1950 communist attack on the Bukit Kepong police station. He made the speech in Tasek Gelugor, Penang, last Aug 21 and allegedly hailed Mat Indera, the leader of the attack, as a hero.
He was charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code, which allows for a jail sentence up to two years, a fine, or both
“Resorting to state power to silence an opponent’s view is an act of cowardice,” Wong said. “It shows only insecurity and no confidence to win a debate with facts and reason.”
He suggested a televised debate between Mat Sabu and government representatives as well as other groups opposing the PAS leader’s views on the Bukit Kepong incident