Human rights lawyer M Ravi has now put forth his application before a Supreme Court judge to adjudicate on whether he should have been, or be given immediate access to his client, hacker James Raj.
About not given access to a lawyer
Looking at the law plainly, while access to counsel is a right of the accused, nowhere does it state that this access must be immediate. This basis for the law is logical to this writer because a defence counsel could inadvertently affect the evidence-gathering process. This must be as unaffected as possible to ensure a fair trial for all accused persons. Therefore, it would appear that the law has been deliberately scoped broadly to account for this point.
For example, if someone is caught trafficking in drugs – if the defence counsel went to speak to his cousin (who happened to be the mastermind behind the trafficking), don’t you think the cousin would try and flee the country then, therefore jeopardizing the whole criminal justice process and the possibility of apprehending the mastermind?
In my opinion, scoped in this way, the law accounts for both the constitutional right of the individual by stating that access to counsel must be granted but within a reasonable period from the moment he is taken into custody. What Mr Ravi is asking for by taking this application to the Supreme Court judge, therefore, is that the law be tailored to suit his (and his client’s) circumstances, whatever they may be. But how can the law be flexible? If we make exceptions for one person, won’t it only be fair to make exceptions for everyone else? And by that premise, then, what would be the purpose of having laws?
About the hacking
Don’t you think what James Raj has done, or has sought to do is actually quite ridiculous? On the surface, while hacking into sites like Sun Ho’s website could serve as entertainment for some, I think hacking into government websites brings with it a whole different set of issues. How would you feel if the data you provide to your Town Council is stolen by hackers like James Raj? Worse still, if your bank accounts get compromised because of such stolen data. While I initially was quite impressed and amused by the hacking of Sun Ho’s website, I quickly wiped that smile off my face when I read he hacked into government websites. We have so much personal data with the government, and I don’t know about you – but the thought of my data being stolen by a group of anarchists really kinda freaked me out. What supporters of hackers are actually supporting are burglars and common crooks, except now they go by a different name under the cloak of anonymity. I think what’s most worrying is the fact that many of these supporters don’t even know what they’re supporting underneath it all.
Beyond this, I think what we need to pause to consider is the question – what exactly is James Raj’s motivation for hacking into these government websites, or even Sun Ho’s website for that matter? He said in his video that the “primary objective of our invasion was to protest the implementation of the internet licensing framework by giving you a sneak peak of the state of your cyberspace if the ridiculous, communistic, oppressive and offensive framework gets implemented”. But really, what has James Raj achieved by threatening the government through such means? I’ll tell you – what he’s done is merely wasted police resources tracking him down, seeking help from the Malaysian Police and wasting taxpayers’ money by keeping him under custody in institutions.
Are we merely supporting a junkie who was on the run and encouraging copycats to create more social nuisance?
Even if his real agenda was to achieve freedom from his supposed oppression (though in my opinion, we are definitely not an oppressed nation – there are cracks in our social policy for sure, and we are definitely not meritocratic as we like to proclaim, but look you only have to look at other countries overseas to see how un-oppressed we actually are), I’m sure there are other ways to achieving a true democracy (which, by the way, how do we even define a true democracy?) here.