Why ignore Umno Youth chief’s sword-bearing post? Lawyers’ group asks IGP

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Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has today questioned why Umno Youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh has not been questioned for a controversial social media post where he brandished a sword.

Its director Zaid Malek called on Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Razarudin Husain to explain why the act was allegedly ignored, as this may be a breach of the police’s duty,

“This is a blatant abdication of duty by the police force whose primary statutory function is to preserve and protect public order,” he said in a statement, pointing to Section 3(3) of the Police Act 1967 on the duty to maintain law and order, preserve the peace and apprehend offenders.

“They cannot choose in one case to enforce the law, and in another turn a blind eye. Their failure or refusal to take action in Akmal’s case will be a breach of their statutory duty under the Police Act.”

Three weeks ago at the start of the socks issue, Dr Akmal had posted a photo on Instagram of him bearing a Japanese sword.

His caption said he would not change his stance for anything and he “preferred to die standing than living on his knees”.

Zaid also pointed out that this was not an ordinary case of potential law-breaking, pointing to Dr Akmal’s role as a public figure in calling for a boycott of KK Mart and the socks printed with “Allah”.

“His sword-bearing Facebook post must be investigated for offences under Section 505(b) and (c) of the Penal Code for causing public alarm and inciting one class or community of persons against another,” he said.

The group compared the inaction to other members of the public who were arrested and charged swiftly for their controversial comments on the social media, such as Chiok Wai Loong and Ricky Shane Chagampag who had commented on the “Allah” socks issue.

“Why does the same zeal not apply to influential politicians like Muhamad Akmal, who are part of the government coalition?” Zaid asked.

Yesterday, Dr Akmal insisted on continuing his call to boycott KK Mart over the “Allah” socks issue, in apparent disregard of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Ibrahim saying not to prolong the controversy.

Sultan Ibrahim had said that he did not want to the controversy drag on, after granting an audience to KK Mart Group executive chairman Datuk Seri Chai Kee Kan who apologised to the King over the incident.

Meanwhile, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim questioned the decision of the authorities not to initiate a probe in the absence of a police report.

Zaid wondered if such a law existed.

“If the country is burning and no one lodges a report, then the police can’t do anything?” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Zaid said when he was charged for insulting the then prime minister in 2015, the report was not lodged by a member of the public.

Instead, he claimed, the federal police got a policeman to lodge the first report.

Zaid was hauled to court over an allegedly offensive blog post he made in 2015. He was charged with the intention to hurt the feelings of then prime minister Najib Razak.

He was acquitted by the court in January 2018.

Zaid voiced his suspicion that the authorities’ recent decision not to initiate an investigation was because “the relevant subject matter or person involved was a high-ranking Umno leader”, while he was a nobody.

While Zaid did not identify the Umno leader, it is believed that he was referring to Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Saleh.

Earlier today, Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain said no reports had been received regarding Akmal’s Facebook post which showed the latter wielding a sword.

He was responding to Senator Ti Lian Ker’s enquiry on why the Merlimau assemblyman had yet to be investigated for sedition.

Razarudin told FMT that according to standard procedure, the police would only initiate an investigation if a report was lodged.