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Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday October 22, 2013 MYT 7:37:58 AM
by martin carvalho, rahimy rahim, AND loshana k. shagar
THE proposed mandatory jail sentences for those convicted of vandalism and insulting the national flag saw two Barisan Nasional lawmakers voice their disagreement to this amendment to the Penal Code.
Although agreeing for the need to protect the sanctity of the Jalur Gemilang, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman (BN-Pengerang) asked: “What if it is just a youth who did not think of the consequences of his actions?
“Under the proposed law, he will be jailed with thieves, rapists and murders and will eventually come out (of jail) worst off.”
She suggested that youth offenders in such situations be given mandatory counselling rather than imprisonment as they might merely be “naughty” or “insane” when defiling the national flag.
Under the proposed amendments, a person may face a jail sentence of not less than five years and up to 15 years jail upon conviction under the new Section 121E.
Azalina also pointed out that the proposed amendments to impose mandatory punishment on those harbouring or protecting suspected gang members might lead to unjust situations.
“What if an ex-husband runs back to his former wife’s house on the pretext that he loves his children?
“It would mean that his former wife will be jailed under the new law for harbouring him,” she said when debating the amendments in the Dewan Rakyat during the second reading.
She urged the Government to retract the Bill and she was supported by Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).
“This law is not good. It makes our country look like a jail. If my friend (Azalina) asked to retract the Bill, I also ask for it,” he said.
He cited the proposed law on vandalism where village folks, who might be innocently putting up posters and carrying a knife, would be subjected to jail if convicted for vandalism based on the wordings of the law.
His opinion drew support from several opposition lawmakers who taunted Bung Mokhtar for changing his stance after the recent Umno polls.
“If the law is not good, why support it? I am not like the Opposition members who always follow what their boss says,” he retorted.
Tags / Keywords:
Government, jalur gemling
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