Conflict & Justice

Jail time for a pro-communist quip?


A Malaysian protestor, acting as a British soldier, portrays a massacre scene during a protest in front of the British high commission building in Kuala Lumpur in 2008. In June 1948, British authorities declared a state of emergency in the colony then known as Malaya, which was overrun by communist insurgents engaged in a brutal guerilla war that would last 12 years.


Saeed Khan

In Muslim-majority Malaysia, keep your commie sympathies to yourself.

According to the Associated Press, a politician faces two years in jail for alleged remarks praising communist guerillas who attacked a police station, killing 25 officers.

Even though the raid took place way back in 1950, when modern-day Malaysia was a British protectorate, authorities say any pro-communist sentiment is forbidden. The offending politician belongs to an all-Islamic party that's popular in rural Malaysia.

Malaysia's culture minister has said that "anyone who even hinted support for communists would pay dearly," according to the Malay Mail. Roughly 47 non-governmental organizations has called the charges "cowardly."

Like almost every Southeast Asian nation, Malaysia was home to armed communist insurgents in the 20th century's latter half. But its rebels were largely weakened even as the U.S. waged war in Vietnam to stop communism's regional spread.

Still, in Malaysia, where remarks that displease authorities can bring serious consequences, it seems that Red Scare-style charges are not resigned to history.