Samy Vellu, why so “bloodthirsty”?
Media Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP MP for Ipoh Timur Lim Kit Siang
Samy Vellu, why so “bloodthirsty” as to want four Opposition Leaders jailed for at least a year under OSA for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the LDP concession agreement?
Why is the Works Minister and the MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu suddenly so “bloodthirsty” as to want four Opposition leaders, namely Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Tian Chua of PKR, Ronnie Liu of DAP and Dr. Hatta Ramli (PAS) jailed for at least a year under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) for revealing that the government had guaranteed profits to Litrak in the Lebuhraya Damansara-Puchong (LDP) concession agreement?
What have the four done that they must be treated like “highway robbers” and must be made to suffer the most severe form of punitive punishment, of being jailed for at least one year, if they are charged under the OSA and found guilty of unauthorized communication of an official secret?
Have they done anything akin to sabotage or imperil the national economy, subvert the national security or undermine national stability?
I do not believe that Samy Vellu, even in his most creative best, would be able to make out a prima facie case that the four Opposition leaders had done any of these terrible things in connection with he publication of the Litrak LDP concession agreement.
I went back to the news reports as to what was revealed about the Litrak LDP concession – that the LDP concession
• was “lopsided and not done in the best interest of the people”.
• allows the concessionaire to continue collecting toll irrespective of whether the company is reaping profits or making losses.
• that the government has very little power under the agreement as the concessionaire can continue to collect toll irregardless of how much collection it has made.
Are these revelations so earth-shattering as to shake the government, society and nation to their very roots as to require invocation of a draconian and repressive law to jail the four for a minimum term of one year each?
In fact, astute Malaysians would have guessed the lopsided contents in the concession agreements and privatization contracts, even without sighting them.
The question is what has made Samy Vellu so “bloodthirsty” that he is behaving as if he has usurped the powers of the Attorney-General or had arrogated to himself the powers of a Super Attorney-General on toll concessions and OSA prosecutions? Why is he demanding his pound of flesh, muttering that “they will have to pay the price”?
Samy Vellu should know that anyone charged and convicted under the OSA would be mandatorily jailed for a minimum of one year, regardless of whether the offence is grave or trivial, or the motive – whether it is to betray the country by selling national defence secrets or in the exercise of the highest form of patriotism to uphold accountability, transparency and integrity and to expose corruption and abuses of power.
This was because Samy Vellu is one of the few remaining Cabinet Ministers responsible for the most shameful, undemocratic, repressive, draconian and pernicious pieces of legislation in the land – the 1986 amendment to the Official Secrets Act imposing a mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence on conviction, regardless of the gravity of the offence or the noble motivation for the disclosure.
During the parliamentary debate on the Official Secrets Act Amendment Bill 1986, I had called it “a Charter for Corruption” – as it had nothing to do with spies, traitors and others who sell secrets prejudicial to the defence, security and economic well-being of Malaysia, either because of mercenary gain or out of disloyalty of Malaysia.
“But what we are discussing today, and objecting strenuously, is not this category of information, but the general run of government information whose revelation would not compromise national security, defence or economic well-being, but merely embarrass the government of the day in highlighting the ineptitude, incompetence, misjudgment, wrongdoing or corrupt practice of Ministers, political leaders or public servants. Why should this category of government information be protected by the criminal law and criminal sanctions of mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence?”
A Prime Minister, Cabinet and Government which is serious about democracy and an open, accountable and transparent government would not have anything to do with such a draconian and obnoxious law.
In removing the discretion of judges on sentencing, the provision of mandatory minimum one-year jail sentence for any conviction under the OSA represents a major attack on the doctrine of separation of powers which Abdullah had sworn to restore in his first official speech in Parliament when he became Prime Minister in November 2003.
Without going further into the various provisions of the OSA, Abdullah and the Cabinet must take a consistente and honourable policy stand that the government will not invoke the OSA with its minimum mandatory one-year jail sentence for any conviction unless and until such a repressive and repugnant provision is repealed.
Otherwise, it will not be Khalid, Tian Chua. Ronnie and Hatta who will be on trial. On trial will be Samy Vellu, Abdullah and the entire Cabinet.
Lim Kit Siang
|Samy, why art thou so bloodthirsty?|
Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang wants to know why Works Minister S Samy Vellu is so vindictive towards the four opposition leaders who were recently summoned for revealing secret documents.
“Why (is he) so bloodthirsty as to want (them) jailed for at least a year under OSA (Official Secrets Act)?” he said in a statement today.
Lim was responding to Samy’s statement yesterday that those responsible for revealing the agreement signed between the government and the concessionaire of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway had to “pay for it”.
The four involved – DAP NGO bureau head Ronnie Liu, PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli, PKR treasurer Khalid Ibrahim and information chief Tian Chua have been summoned to the Bukit Aman police headquarters on Monday
Earlier this month, the quartet showed reporters a copy of a document pertaining to the agreement signed between the government and the concessionaire of the Damansara-Puchong Expressway.
The opposition argued that the 200-page secret document showed the government had guaranteed profits to concessionaires at the expense of road users.
Following this, Samy suggested to the cabinet that the attorney-general take action against those responsible for ‘stealing and exhibiting’ the toll concession agreements.
Those found guilty of violating the OSA are liable to a mandatory jail sentence of at least one year.
‘What have they done wrong?’
The Ipoh Timur MP quizzed as to what the four leader did to warrant being treated like ‘highway robbers’.
“What have the four done that they must be treated like “highway robbers” and made to suffer the most severe form of punitive punishment?
“Have they done anything akin to sabotage or imperil the national economy, subvert the national security or undermine national stability?” he asked.
The DAP veteran also accused Samy of usurping the powers of the Attorney-General.
He then urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his cabinet to take a stand that the government will not impose OSA’s mandatory sentencing on the four opposition leaders.
“Abdullah and the cabinet must take a consistent and honourable stand that the government will not invoke the OSA with its minimum mandatory one-year jail sentence for any conviction unless and until such a repressive and repugnant provision is repealed.”
If the four are found guilty, Lim warned, “it will not be Khalid, Tian Chua, Ronnie and Hatta on trial but Samy Vellu, Abdullah and the entire Cabinet.”
Do you have something to say about the above report? Share it with other Malaysiakini readers. Send your comments to email@example.com and it may be published in Malaysiakinis Vox Populi (Voice of the People) section. Please keep your comments brief and do let us know if you wish to remain anonymous.