If charged, I know I am in good company, says Ambiga

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KUALA LUMPUR: As police initiate investigations into Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, the former Bar Council president said she was proud to be among those caught in Putrajaya’s sedition dragnet.

Ambiga said the probe into her “may be a good thing” for the future generation, but added that she had yet to receive word from police, and may not even be charged.

“Nevertheless, if I am charged, I know I am in good company and am proud to stand with all the others who are presently facing the odious Sedition Act,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider.

The news portal reported yesterday that police are now investigating the Negara-Ku patron for sedition, following remarks she allegedly made about Biro Tata Negara (BTN) or the National Civics Bureau at a conference in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The Malaysian Insider learnt that a police report was lodged against the lawyer by a Malay rights group, Persatuan Pertubuan Merah Terengganu, last Thursday, after she allegedly claimed BTN camps were nothing more than brainwashing sessions to turn Malays into racists and bigots.

“I think this may turn out to be a good thing after all. Let the truth emerge,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider in a text message.

“We all want what is best for our children and we must never be afraid to speak up in defence of our children, the next generation, if there is any instruction that has the effect of narrowing their minds, thus depriving them of the chance of achieving intellectual excellence.”

She said as taxpayers, every Malaysian had a right to question the government’s actions.

“I note with interest that in other cases, similar words may have been used in relation to vernacular schools and no action was taken because the words are not considered seditious.

“This is why it is best to wait and see if in fact there will be a charge,” said Ambiga.

She was apparently referring to Umno deputy division chief Mohamad Azli Mohamed Saad’s call to abolish vernacular schools in the country.

It was reported on Wednesday that Sepang police chief Mohd Yusoff Awang said Mohamad Azli’s statement did not contain seditious elements and the case had been classified as a civil matter.

“This was just a suggestion from him, not a public statement,” Mohd Yusoff was quoted as saying in an online news portal.

“Therefore, we won’t open any paper to investigate it.”

Ambiga joins a slew of opposition politicians, academics and activists who have been charged, convicted or are being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 10, 2014.