Side Views

Will Ibrahim Ali be prosecuted? — Tay Tian Yan

February 01, 2013

FEB 1 — The police have recorded statements from Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali and the next question is, will he be prosecuted?

Of course, we cannot jump to conclusions yet.

The police will submit the report to the Attorney-General’s Office after completing their investigation. It depends on the Attorney-General whether to prosecute him or not.

However, Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said earlier that action will be taken only after the Malay-language bibles are actually burned or it was not important regardless of what Ibrahim said.

In other words, it is not a problem to say he wants to burn the bibles until the bibles are really burned.

By this reasoning, investigation is just routine and Ibrahim can still stay calm and relaxed as he did not actually burn the bibles.

Given another scenario, a person in a plane says he wants to blow up the plane.

Everyone on board is scared. They wonder whether the threat is real. They look to the captain.

The captain then says: “I’ll take action only after he actually blows up the plane.” Or “why should we care what he said?”

Of course, according to international flight safety rules and regulations, the captain would be sacked and investigated regardless of whether the threat was true or not. In such a situation, preventive measures must be taken to avoid any possible damage.

It is international flight practice. Once a threat is received, regardless of how tiny is the probability, the plane must turn back or land at the nearest airport.

For the menace, regardless of whether he is drunk or a terrorist, he must first be subdued, tied up and questioned. After landing, he should be taken to the police for investigation and eventually be prosecuted.

Perhaps, some people might ask whether the same theory should be applied to the Bible-burning threat.

Yes, it is indeed applicable. By taking safety on board a plane as a microcosm of safety in society, when someone comes out with a threat, regardless of whether it is threatening the safety of society or plane, panic will be caused.

Safety should always be the first concern and thus no compromise is allowed.

Otherwise, if the plane is really blown up, the consequences would of course be death to all those on board. If some people really burned the bibles, it will very likely trigger social unrest, inspire hatred and cause conflicts.

Abdul Gani is an expert in the law. He should understand that the greatest purpose of law is prevention, followed by punishment. Once we lose the deterrence, it will be too later for punishment.

As the Attorney-General, he must always act within the law instead of selectively prosecute or not prosecute. The authorities must take appropriate action once Ibrahim is proven to have made the Bible-burning statement.

Regardless of the existing Sedition Act or the proposed National Harmony Act, the acts clearly prohibit malicious religious and racial hostility provocation.

Action should be taken against Ibrahim, not out of hatred, but because he should not be allowed to go beyond the law. The purpose of investigating and prosecuting him is not to punish him, but to uphold the dignity of the rule of law. — mysinchew.com

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.