Rule of law – why double standard adopted by Government?

Speech by DAP National Organising Secretary and DAP perak State Assemblyman for Gopeng, P.Patto, at the DAP Solidarity Dinner organized by the DAP Selangor/Federal Territory Sub-Committee and held at Tian Kiew Leng Kee Restaurant, Jalan Sekolah, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday, 3rd October, 1977 at 7.00 p.m

Rule of law – why double standard adopted by Government?

One of the tenets in the Rukunegara, which is still claimed to have been fathered by the Gerakan, is the “Rule of Law”. Not a day passes without a Government Minister talking about the “Rule of Law” in Malaysia.

But, do we have the “Rule if Law” respected by the very persons who advocate their belief in the “Rule of Law”? It would appear not so.

There are many glaring examples where the “Rule of Law” has been utterly disregarded and disrespected by those in the Establishment, be they Ministers, Menteris Besar, Chief Ministers or leaders of component parties in the National Front.

Immediately after the last General Elections, the Minister for Home Affairs announced that the Government has banned all Public Rallies and the reasons given by him were one, that the security situation in the country did not allow for Public Rallies to be held; two, the Government wants to concentrate on development and therefore, the ban is aimed to cut down politicking.

Having banned Public Rallies since August 24 1974, except during by-elections and general elections, the Government has been constantly applying this rule on the DAP whenever we applied for permission to hold public meetings.

But, this rulling does not appear to have been applicable to National Front component parties and its leaders. Recent developments point to this double standard adopted by the Government.

During the Malacca National Front political crisis recently, the Malacca Chief Minister, Hj. Abdul Ghani Ali, was reported to have addressed a large gathering of UMNO supporters, numbering a couple of thousands, at the Malacca airport. Did Hj. Ghani Ali have a valid Police permit to hold such a Public Rally? If so, how did the Police approve such a permit when they have repeated refused the DAP permission to hold such rallies?

Secondly, the Prime Minister, Datuk Hussein Onn, was also reported to have addressed a public rally in Slim River some time ago. Was a Police permit granted for such a rally?

Thirdly, The (Independent) Menteri Besat of Kelantan, Hj. Mohamad Nasir, was also reported to have addressed a 80,000 Public Rally in Kota Bharu despite Police advice to the public that they should not attend the rally. Lateroon, the Police themselves provided protection for the people at the rally.

If there is a rulling that Public Rallies cannot be held, then, what action is the Police going to take on those responsible for organizing these “unlawful assemblies” and also those who spoke at these rallies?

And only last week, Malaysians were shocked to learn that a former Deputy Minister and self-confessed pro-communist, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad, presently under detention under the Internal Security Act, was charged and convicted under the Arms Act for unlawful possession of a Browning automatic shotgun and several rounds of ammunition while the Government has all along, since the legislation of the Essential (Security Cases) Regulations in 1975, charged all persons, including a 14-years-old Form One schoolboy, uuder the Internal Security Act for unlawful possession of arms and ammunition which carries a mandatory death sentence on conviction.

Malaysians demand to know why the 14-year-old boy was not charged under the Arms Act when self-confessed pro-communist, Datuk Abdullah Ahmad could be “saved” from the gallows by the Government by charging him under the Arms Act. “Rule of Laws” must be the rule of law and there should be no double standard adopted on laws which must be applied failry and equally on Malaysians, irrespective of one’s status and political beliefs and leanings.