Delving on a deviant act

Of late, the Janji Demokrasi Merdeka countdown has drawn attention for the wrong reasons. Why did a group of youths stomp on and moon the picture of the Prime Minister and what should be done?

Is our Malaysian culture known for its sopan santun (courtesy) changing for the worse?

Since when is it okay to stomp on and moon the picture of the country's leader? Isn't this so kurang ajar (ill bred) and biadap (rude)? Is this even a Malaysian thing to do? Or are we over-reacting?

On the eve of Merdeka Day, a group of NGOs (closely aligned to Bersih) organised a Janji Demokrasi countdown at Dataran Merdeka to celebrate the country's independence and tens of thousands showed up.

Generally, it was felt that the hour-long gathering went on peacefully.

It was only later that news emerged about a small group of youths stomping on pictures of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, and showing their butts.

Some even carried the Sang Saka Malaya flag as a so-called alternative to the "Malaysian" flag.

Following public outcry, the police decided to act and put up photos of the 11 alleged offenders, asking them to come forward.

After that, a number came forward while the others who didn't were picked up by the police. A few others are still holding out.

Part-time model 19-year old Ong Sing Yee turned herself in at the Johor Baru police station, was handcuffed and taken to the Dang Wangi police station for questioning.

She has since made a public apology for stepping on the PM's picture, saying she got carried away and "followed others".

Another 19-year-old male student studying Creative Multimedia at Cybernetics International College has been expelled with no chance to appeal for his indecent act of exposing his buttocks at the picture of the Prime Minister.

The student's father, expressing remorse over his son's behaviour, has apologised and wants to meet Najib to personally say sorry.

The police are looking into charging the 11 under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code.

But critics have questioned why the police have been so quick to act on this matter but slow when it comes to similar offensive acts being committed against opposition leaders and others.

They point out that the police did not act when Perkasa stepped on and burnt photographs of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and performed a mock funeral for him.

And they didn't act either when a group of ex-servicemen did butt-exercises in front of Bersih 2.0 co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga's house, defaced and tore up her picture as well as performed "funeral" rites.

These questions are not only with regards to the opposition.

In 2008, Bukit Bendera Umno chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail got into a spat with then Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (Gerakan), and called non-Malays "immigrants" who do not deserve equal rights.

One of his supporters even smashed a framed picture of Dr Koh and tore it up.

The police didn't take action either and the matter was dealt with instead at party and Barisan Nasional level. Ahmad Ismail was subsequently suspended from Umno for three years.

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