Below is the news article of Ahmad Ismail suspended for 3-years by Umno. Does he deserve a stiffer punishment?
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 (Bernama) -- Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail has been suspended from the party for three years with immediate effect for making a disparaging remark at a political ceramah in Permatang Pauh last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced Wednesday.
The Umno president said the party's supreme council meeting Wednesday found that Ahmad's statements and actions, which had caused anxiety and drawn protests from the Barisan Nasional component parties, were serious.
As such, a decision was made to suspend his rights in the party under Clause 20.9 of the party constitution, he told reporters after chairing the two-hour meeting here.
Ahmad had caused a polemic with his statement at the ceramah on Aug 23 that the Chinese community are immigrants in the country and are not entitled to equal rights as the bumiputeras.
The statement had drawn anger from Gerakan and MCA leaders who demanded that he make a public apology but he had refused to do so.
"He will be stripped of whatever posts he now holds which are related to the party or the people or in his capacity as a representative of the party," said Abdullah, who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman.
Asked whether Ahmad could appeal the decision, he said: "Normally, everyone has a right to appeal."
On whether action would be taken against the newspaper which reported Ahmad's statement, he said the decision would be made by the Home Ministry.
"Matters relating to the press, matters relating to the actions of people outside the party, as I've just said, will be decided by the relevant government departments or ministries like the Home Ministry and the Royal Malaysia Police."
He said that if the political parties sensed that something had potential to create a bad situation in the country, they should lodge police reports and the same applied to the people if they felt that something not right had occurred, so that action could be taken under the law.
Abdullah said the Umno supreme council also felt that all the BN components should also be firm and take disciplinary action against any of their members who act or make statements that can cause anger and sour relations among the component parties.
"These are the two decisions made in connection with the matter," he said.
Abdullah said he also informed the meeting that the cabinet this morning discussed the situation on racial ties in the country and expressed the feeling that the signs were not good and the situation could lead to racial tensions.
"So, when many things are raised, when things are spoken about which touch on racial sensitivities in the country... matters that are not normally raised are raised and become an issue. Matters which should not be discussed are brought up and this draws various reactions," Abdullah said.
He said that all this while his government had been able to control the situation so that nothing untoward occurred but "we cannot allow this situation to continue."
The prime minister said he hoped that the people would understand that public order must be maintained through law enforcement.
"This is what we want because with one heart like this... order, peace, racial goodwill have given us the chance to develop our country so that the peole can enjoy progress, peace and security.
He had conveyed all this to the meeting, he said, adding: "We must love our nation. We must do whatever it takes to avoid clashes, things that pose a threat. We must save Malaysia from racial clashes."
Asked whether the government would use the Internal Security Act (ISA) to maintain public order, he said that only the Home Minister could sign the order for the use of the act and this also only if he really believed that the person could threaten national security.
Asked on the freedom of speech, Abdullah said although Malaysia did not restrict the freedom to speak, the laws of the country must be respected and given priority.
"Our laws are formulated in Parliament and our members of Parliament are elected by the people. We are democratic. We must understand that no one can, in the name of freedom, say what he or she likes to the extent of jeopardising public order, hurting others and violating the law," he said.
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