Nurul Izzah Anwar arrested under Sedition Act
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, the eldest daughter of jailed Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, was arrested under the Sedition Act when she turned up at the Dang Wangi police station on Monday, as requested, to give a statement on the KitaLawan rally of March 7. The Lembah Pantai MP has also been asked to help with investigations on the KitaLawan rally of March 7.
“I have been detained under the orders of the Bukit Aman senior assistant director of D5 (Classified Special Unit),” she tweeted. “ASP Muniandy informed me that I was being held under the instructions of Dt Azam.”
Nurul, who is also a PKR Vice President, was arrested for a speech she gave in Parliament on behalf of Anwar.
Padang Serai MP N. Surendran, speaking up on behalf of Nurul as her lawyer, warned police that any investigation of her for reading out her father’s speech in Parliament was unconstitutional.
He demanded that the investigation be dropped immediately and the Home Minister provide an explanation to the Dewan Rakyat as to how and why such an investigation was sanctioned and commenced.
He urged the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, in his capacity as chairman of the committee of privileges, to initiate an immediate inquiry into “this blatant breach of parliamentary privilege”.
The speech, allegedly an attack on the Judiciary, has since become controversial over its contents.
“The police investigation is also in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat,” fumed Surendran. “She read out Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s speech as he’s in jail as a political prisoner and prisoner of conscience.”
“The police investigation is illegal, unconstitutional and a serious interference with the rights and privileges of Parliament.”
Article 63(2) of the Federal Constitution confers immunity from any proceedings in court for anything said by an MP in the Dewan Rakyat.
Subsequent to the May 13 1969 riots, the Constitution was amended to include a new Article 63(4). Article 63(4) provides an exception to the immunity under 63(2) for words uttered by MPs which fall under the Sedition Act 1948.
”But this exception under 63(4) is limited,” said Surendran. “Action can only be taken against MPs for words uttered which fall under section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act 1948 i.e. on citizenship, the position of Rulers, national language or special position of Malays and the Orang Asal.”
In other words, said Surendran, MPs cannot be charged for anything said in Parliament unless they question the foregoing “sensitive’” matters.
Clearly, he added, the speech made by Nurul Izzah on behalf of the Opposition Leader did not touch on any of the matters prohibited by section 3(1)(f) Sedition Act. “Thus, no action or criminal proceeding can be commenced or maintained against her for criticism of the Judiciary.”
”The IGP Khalid Bakar and the state police chief are thus in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat for initiating a criminal investigation under the Sedition Act against Nurul Izzah,” reiterated Surendran.
”We hold the Home Minister fully responsible for this interference with the Dewan Rakyat as the Minister responsible for the police.”