Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has ordered the arrest and investigation of a Twitter user for sedition after the latter tweeted his views about the secession of Sarawak from Malaysia.
The IGP gave the order via his Twitter account, by tagging the police. He asked that the user 'Republic of Sarawak' who tweets via the handle @Swakheadhunter, be detained under the Sedition Act.
Under the colonial-ear law, which was amended last year to tighten the legislation amidst calls for Sabah and Sarawak to secede, calls for the secession of any state from Malaysia is deemed seditious.
Meanwhile, according to a report by The Malay Mail Online, Khalid's order came just hours after a group of 10,000 people defied a police ban and turned up at the Song Kheng Hai field for the Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) "Freedom and Independence Walk".
Thousands of participants gathered as early as 7am at the nearby Jubilee Ground to march towards the venue in Padungan while some gathered and walked from Padang Merdeka. The two-hour rally also saw the people lining up in an ‘S4S’ formation for a photocall and participating in a flag-raising ceremony.
Various banners and placards in support of Sarawak’s rights and equality were displayed as the crowd chanted slogans such as ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’, ‘Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban’ and ‘Dum Spiro Spero’ during the rally. Participants came from all over the state with some as far as Lawas and even Belaga.
Despite Khalid's warning that the rally could be used to incite secession of Sarawak from Malaysia, there was light presence of uniformed police. The majority of people were traffic policemen directing traffic and the participants of the walk. Khalid had advised the organisers to call off the gathering, citing reasons of security and public order.themalaysianinsider.com
But despite the warning, organisers decided to proceed with the gathering today as many of its participants from outside Sarawak were already in town for the event. The gathering went on peacefully with no reports of any untoward incidents.
The walk by the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) and the S4S movement was organised to demand, among others, that July 22 to be made a public holiday to mark Sarawak’s independence.
Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem, who was speaking at a ceremony commemorating the history of Sarawak's independence held at the compound of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building in Kuching, said that while the state government agreed with the sentiment expressed by the 'Sarawak for Sarawakians' movement, it does not agree to the state's secession from Malaysia
“We are still one country trying to improve everybody and let me say here that the state government agrees with the sentiment expressed by the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ movement but we do not agree to secession from the federation.”
Adenan said the state government would not entertain and approve that course of action, including referendum, as a way of getting there.
“We, however, believe in full autonomy for Sarawak under the constitution, we believe in devolution of more federal power to the state which we are now negotiating with the federal government,” he said, adding that a committee had been set up to look into the matter.
He said Sarawak was not just a state within the federation but a founding state of the Federation of Malaysia, a party to the formation and had every say in the Cobbold Commission report.
“Malaysia is a federation of equality and not domination by Kuala Lumpur or some other party. We have not ceased to be a British colony controlled by London just simply to be controlled by another power, and we must therefore insist on our autonomy,” he stressed.