‘Need for stern action against people flying flag wrongly’

SEREMBAN: Heavier punishment should be imposed on those who deliberately fly the Jalur Gemilang upside down and insult the national coat of arms, says Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (pic).

Citing Thailand, which imposed severe punishment on those who insulted the country, including the king, he said such stern action would be a lesson to deter others from doing the same.

“Those who fly the Jalur Gemilang upside down and insult the national coat of arms should be arrested, and if possible, stern action taken against them because, in other countries, it is rare for people to insult the national flag and the coat of arms, as well as the king, ” he said after opening the Merdeka@Komuniti and Ziarah Kasih Merdeka programme here yesterday.

“We do not want to have people in the country trying to create disharmony. If they are not happy over something, don’t take it out on the national flag or the coat of arms, ” Zahidi added.

On the programme, he said, although the country was still under the recovery movement control order (MCO), it should not be used as an excuse to not enliven the National Month celebration.

“We do not want the Merdeka celebration this time around to be less lively or less enthusiastic.

“So we try our best to ensure that the people understand and practise the principles of Rukunegara and ignite the patriotic spirit, ” he added.

In Johor Baru, a woman was arrested for allegedly flying the Jalur Gemilang upside down at her premises in Jalan Lee Ah Leng, Taman Nasib, Kluang, three days ago.

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the 55-year-old woman, the owner of the premises, was arrested following a police report lodged on the same day.

“The results of the investigation found that the premises was a restaurant from 2017 until the end of December 2019 and closed down in January.

“It was also found that the flag had been flown upside down at the premises since 2017 until complaints were made by the public.

“Why is it only now being reported? I think because public level awareness has started to increase lately, ” he told reporters at the Johor police contingent headquarters yesterday.

The suspect will be charged under Section 5 of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act and, if convicted, she can be fined not more than RM20,000 or jailed not more than three years or both, he added. — Bernama

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