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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The words "Altantuya Shaariibuu" should not be an offence

By Leslie Lau 

By banning any mention of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu from the Bukit Gantang campaign trail, the police has reached a ridiculous new low.

The police are supposed to be responsible for public order and security.

It should not be legislating what words can or cannot be used on the stump.

What is next?

Will the police decide that the names of certain candidates cannot be mentioned? Or will the police decide what language can be used during rallies?

If local police police officers think they are doing Datuk Seri Najib Razak a favour by imposing the Altantuya ban, then are sorely mistaken.

The repeated linking by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of Najib to Altantuya’s murder is arguably done in bad taste.

The accusations hurled at Najib have also not been backed by evidence.

But in banning the mere mention of her name will certainly fuel the rumours and speculation surrounding the murder.

There is no need for the police to ban the mention of Altantuya.

If any crime is committed by any politician then the police can initiate prosecution.

And if any body decides to make unsubstantiated accusations then he or she is subject to legal action in the law of defamation.

The police are not doing anyone any favours with such a ban.

What the police needs to do is to ensure political rallies do not get out of hand.

The job of the police is to ensure the safety of the public and to arrest anyone who commits an offence.

Mentioning the words “Altantuya Shaariibuu” is not a criminal offence.

Leslie Lau is consultant editor for The Malaysian Insider

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