Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Ultras love 'hate' speech but fear 'equality'


Will Harapan sanction Hadi's hate speech?

Published:   |  Modified: 
“Freedom of speech is always guaranteed, but within it, there should be freedom with responsibility. Any form of freedom which has been misused or abused for any contribution of hate and which deteriorates race and religious harmony could be considered an abuse of that freedom.”
– Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
COMMENT | I am against most forms of “hate speech“ laws, believing there are enough restrictions in place to curb speech deemed detrimental to the individual or collective reputation, or laws restricting the dissemination of information because of national security. In other words, there is no need for sanctions which restrict certain forms of speech that groups may find offensive.
The only time I have departed from this, is for Dr Zakir Naik because I believe he is a threat to national security, and I am one of those people who believe that adherence to principles of free speech is not a suicide pact.
Having said that, the Pakatan Harapan government has promoted the idea of hate speech laws ever since they came into power. Harapan politicians are always talking about the hate speech of the opposition. Numerous advocacy groups, which at one time believed in free speech, are now clamouring for hate speech laws that would ensure that our "fragile" peace remains intact.
Harapan politicians, with the exception of certain DAP members, always talk of hate speech in the abstract. It is the same when it comes to religion. These politicians always talk in platitudes and bromides. Hate speech is causing disunity or hate speech is used by the opposition. Very few, certainly not the Malay politicians, especially on the ministerial level, call out or single out individuals who have made hate speech part of their political rhetoric.
The most recent example is PAS leader Abdul Hadi Awang’s comment that the DAP wants wealth for the Chinese and not for all people diatribe. To any rational person, this would be considered hate speech, the kind of speech our prime minister claims is a deliberate attempt to tear communities apart.
Indeed, with regard to my "threat to national security" caveat when it comes to free speech, an old comrade of mine (a bumiputra) from Sarawak, who has similar views as mine on free speech, said that Hadi, like Zakir, is a threat to national security. This friend, who still works in the security apparatus, said that what Hadi was doing was a deliberate attempt to wreck the social fabric of Sarawak. “What is the government going to do about this?” he ranted at me.

This is the problem with hate speech in this country. When he was still in Umno, the prime minister said that demonsing the DAP (a proxy for the Chinese community) was fair game in politics. It was only after he joined the then opposition that Dr Mahathir Mohamad realised that he was mistaken.
He said: “So the Malays fear DAP. I myself had, to some extent, contributed to the poor reputation of DAP. I portrayed it as an evil party that wanted to control Malaysia and one that did not care about the fate of the Malays... If we want to win, we must demonise the opponent. They also did the same to me.”
Of course, Hadi may still be bitter about the fact that the DAP is on record – Lim Kit Siang anyway – of accepting the late Nik Aziz and Fadzil Noor as PM-designate candidates, but not someone like Hadi:
“What I said yesterday was that the reason why Hadi and other PAS leaders are telling lies about the DAP being anti-Malay and anti-Islam was because the DAP had refused to support Hadi as the prime minister candidate for Pakatan Rakyat in the 13th general election in 2013.”
Hell hath no fury like an extremist scorned.
Coming back to this idea that some Harapan politicians are gung-ho about hate speech laws, but as yet cannot even bring themselves to comment on specific cases and personalities, should tell you everything you need to know about what they consider hate speech.
Has there been any politician in Harapan who has said that hate speech laws should be applied to someone like Hadi? Has there been any politician from Harapan who has said that the kind of campaign polemics which demonises certain communities and religions would be subject to hate speech laws?
Disagreeing with what Hadi says, even in the most weaselly of ways, is not the same as condemning his rhetoric as hate speech, and reminding people that Hadi’s rhetoric is the kind of speech that would be sanctioned by the state's proposed hate speech laws.
While we have seen numerous reports made against people insulting Islam and the royalty, the only people who have been making police reports about hate speech are non-Malay politicians against people who should find themselves on the sanctioning end of hate speech laws, but who seem to be enabled by the Harapan government.
So the home minister and the deputy prime minister can bleat all they want about not tolerating hate speech or curtailing those who would use race and religion to destabilise the country. However, the reality is that there is no real political who will stand behind the bluster of hate speech laws.

So there are two issues here. The first is this: When it comes to hate speech, is Harapan walking the talk? We get all these politicians talking about how great hate speech laws would be when it comes to combating extremism, but as yet nobody beyond the DAP has called out hate speech when it comes to demagogues like Hadi and Zakir.
Indeed, all this bluster about the need to restrict hate speech is meaningless when the race-based parties continue to dominate the mainstream political terrain.
The second issue: Is hate speech law the best way to combat the ideas of extremists? Suaram’s critique of hate speech laws by Ku Kia Soong is especially important:
“So why has the BN and now, Harapan government, not drafted an Equality Act? Is it because 'equality' itself is a 'sensitive' issue in Malaysia today? It is so sensitive, in fact, that the ratification of Icerd (the International Convention for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination) had to be jettisoned recently. Imagine that!
"So, the BN, and now the Harapan government, has chosen to name their Bills with imprecise Orwellian terms like “National Harmony” and “National Unity”, which have been rendered meaningless through decades of Malaysian government doublespeak.”
Hadi Awang and people like him are not fearful of hate speech laws. What they are afraid of is equality laws. Harapan is prone to promoting the former, but not the latter. Why is that?

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.


  1. i dun really understand what thaya is talking abt. is he that diff with ph on free speech?

  2. This is why DAP must not quit being part of the government. They are the glue holding everyone together. Bersatu, Amanah and even PKR are frozen with fear, fear of losing Malay-Muslim support if they speak up against people who make hate speech, like Zakar Naik and Hadi. It takes someone like LKS to call a spade a spade.

    And “equality”? DAP has been preaching “Malaysian Malaysia” and racial equality for decades, only now Toonsie catching on with the phrase, but he is not sincere I am sure...

    We get all these politicians talking about how great hate speech laws would be when it comes to combating extremism, but as yet nobody beyond the DAP has called out hate speech when it comes to demagogues like Hadi and Zakir.

  3. Actually I dont really care what Thayapan is talking about but I really care, in fact , really afraid if the likes of Hadi Awang becomes PM......when that happens, Malaysia is finished.....!!

    1. Trust me, when he becomes PM, you will fall in love with him.

    2. Only when one gone through that 'suci' process to become part zombie!

  4. UMNO marrying PAS for GE15 is a huge mistake. They should cooperate informally, like in the three by-elections that they won.

    But with the marriage,

    a vote for UMNO = a vote for PAS, and vice versa. But many UMNO supporters will never vote PAS, and vice versa.

    Voters now have an easier choice to make:
    middle path with Harapan or a hate-filled-right-wing path with UMNO-PAS.

    And with this marriage UMNO-PAS can kiss all the parliament seats of Sabah and Sarawak goodbye. Even GPS will avoid them.

    1. One is aiming for the opulent materialistic gains of living life while the other is targeting the orgasmic thrill-seekings with the 72 houris in afterlife.

      Marriage in heaven?

      One partner with brain full of shits while the other has no grey matter underneath the cranium.


      A definite repeat of what tok guru Nik Aziz hated so much when pas was conned kau2 before.

  5. I am Malaysian Chinese in my 60's. We suffered under Mahathir/Anwar. I WILL VOTE PAS in GE15. Nothing pleases me more than to wipe the arrogant smirks from those fxxking Malaysian Chinese/Indians who voted out NAJIB.
    I want them to pay their pound of FLESH for the betrayal against Najib.

    1. my pet gerbil believe you are a malaysian chinese too, but why don't you be a bangla for a change

    2. Only in your 60s and yet your mind had gone to pieces ! Nowadays 60 is the new 40 but definitely not applicable for the likes of you....crazy like a coot ! Belum makan ubat ke ?

    3. "I am Malaysian Chinese in my 60's. We suffered under Mahathir/Anwar. "
      "Malaysian Chinese/Indians who voted out NAJIB.
      I want them to pay their pound of FLESH for the betrayal against Najib."
      What did Najib do to reverse the sufferings that you faced under Mahathir/Anwar?? Did he recognize the UEC, did he allow New Vilagers to be granted freehold land titles? Did he attack PAS for their racist remarks on non-Malays-non-Muslims, quite the opposite he sided with them? Why did he made the Seditions Act more draconian than it originally was and why did he come up with even more draconian Anti Fake News Bill and the NSC act, how is that different than Mahathir's iron fist in the 80s and 90s?