Cops arrest duo for flying pre-Merdeka flag
UPDATED @ 09:09:10 PM 07-09-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 ― Police have detained the two youths who courted controversy during Merdeka Day eve when they raised the Sang Saka Malaya flag, the pre-independence nationalist banner that served as the model for the flags of Umno, Indonesia and Singapore.
Kuala Lumpur CID deputy chief Aziz Zakaria said in a statement here that the duo were arrested at the Dang Wangi police station here at 2.35pm today.
Mohd Zairi Shafa'ai and Muhammad Nasir Abu Bakar, both 24, are being investigated under Section 9(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, a British-enacted law that the Najib administration recently said it will soon repeal.
“Both of them surrendered to the police today and are being processed. No statements have been taken or made yet,” said their co-counsel, Afiq M Noor at 4.20 pm.
Afiq told The Malaysian Insider at 7.10 pm that both detainees were waiting for the investigating officer to record their statements.
Muhammad Nasir, also known by his online pseudonym Singa Selatan, had blogged about the incident in two entries over the weekend after his act provoked a firestorm that has turned political with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet accusing the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition bloc of being behind the plot and suggesting a bid to turn Malaysia into a republic.
“Saya dan saudara Zairi Shafai adalah individu yang bertanggungjawab membuat dan mengibarkan bendera Sang Saka Malaya dimalam sambutan kemerdekaan di Dataran Merdeka. (I and Zairi Shafai are the individuals responsible for making and flying the Sang Saka Malaya flag during the Independence celebration in Dataran Merdeka),” the blogger had written in an entry posted last Friday.
“We do not represent any political party, be it from the government or the opposition; we represent the youth who wish to project truth and history that has attempted to be drowned out by the responsible parties, and clearly have no motive to change the Jalur Gemilang to Sang Saka Malaya, because Sang Saka Malaya has been turned into the Jalur Gemilang today,” he added in his Bahasa Malaysia entry.
Muhammad Nasir said his posting was not an attempt to seek publicity for himself or his friend, but to shed light over the controversy and their reasons for displaying the “panji keramat” (sacred pennant).
The Umno, Barisan Nasional, and Malaysian national flag are waved at the 2011 Umno general assembly.According to the blogger, the Sang Saka Malaya — which sports a crescent moon and an 11-pointed star in the top left corner of the flag against a two-striped red and white background — was used by the first Malay party, Kesatuan Melayu Malaya (KMM) formed in 1938, that had fought against the colonial British for the country’s independence.
“That is why I feel that this flag is qualified to be flown on the night of the independence (celebration) apart from Jalur Gemilang. There are many tales full of hardship behind the Sang Saka Malaya,” he said in the blog.
However, in a separate entry posted two days ago, the blogger said he was stunned to see copies of a pamphlet calling for the Jalur Gemilang to be replaced with the Sang Saka Malaya and denied responsibility for its distribution.
“We have no intention to urge the government to replace the Jalur Gemilang with the Sang Saka Malaya," he said in his entry.