For the first time ever, the authorities are on the hunt for individuals accused of showing disrespect to public figures by means of stepping on their photographs or, in one case, of a youth baring his bottom at the photograph.

NONECurrently, the police have identified 11 individuals accused of performing such acts at Dataran Merdeka on the eve of Merdeka Day. 

A handful of people have surrendered themselves to the police so far and in one case, a teenager was even put in handcuffs for her alleged crime.

However, it has been pointed out that the 11 are subjects of selective persecution, exacerbated by the haste in investigations and the uncanny ability of the police to identify them with such unerring accuracy.

NONEHowever, the police, have denied taking sides and vowed to probe similar instances involving Pakatan Rakyat leaders, provided police reports are lodged.

Since, the police have established that showing disrespect to public figures is a crime under the Sedition Act 1948, below is a list from Malaysiakini archives to show that the application of this law is not always consistent.

Lim Guan Eng

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng often boasts about many firsts under his administration, but he can now add "facing the most number of demonstrations in the shortest period of time as chief minister" under his belt as well.

The numerous protests have been varied in nature, but their objectives appear uniform: It is not just to make a point, but to insult as well.

Not only have his posters been burnt and stepped on during several occasions, Lim has also been given cake shaped in the form of faeces and a had a mock funeral staged in front of his house.

NONEThe perpetrators of such acts are widely known and some of them have been quoted by the media. 

Some of their leaders have also led numerous protests - and none of them have been prosecuted thus far.

Due to the sheer shock factor and frequency of such acts against Lim, he deserves to be placed first in this list.

 Ambiga Sreenevasan

This former Bar Council president turned electoral reform activist quickly amassed a legion of new fans for her work with the Bersih coalition, but it attracted enemies as well.

Detractors came right up to her doorstep on July 9, flipping burgers and exercising their posteriors in protest against the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally.

NONEOne group led by Jamal Md Yunus, a prominent restaurant operator and luxury car dealer, even painted yellow boxes on the road in front of her home for flea market stalls.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall could have taken action against the group for vandalism but no known action has been taken, other than to paint over the yellow lines.

Prior to this, Malay rights pressure group Perkasa had held a rally in Kuala Lumpur to protest plans to hold Bersih 3.0 where posters depicting Ambiga were set alight.

In April, Jaringan Melayu Malaysia held a noisy anti-homosexuality demonstration at Universiti Putra Malaysia which saw posters depicting Ambiga being burnt and stepped on. 

Nik Abdul Aziz and Abdul Hadi Awang

shah alam nik aziz hadi awang 060912 urinating peeingThese two top PAS leaders were lesser chosen as targets by vandals but a series of photographs that have stuck to the minds of their supporters is one depicting several youths urinating on a banner.

The banner was strung up in Shah Alam, prominently featuring Hadi and Nik Aziz's mugshots. The streams of urine are clearly visible in this photograph above.

One of the perpetrator was clad in a BN t-shirt.

Lim Kit Siang

Like his counterparts in PAS, Kit Siang also had to suffer the same indignity of people urinating on his photograph.

One incident took place in December 2009, outside the Shah Alam courthouse where 12 individuals were being tried for their inflammatory demonstration involving a cow head.

Khalid Samad

herald allah verdict protest shah alam masjid 080110 banner against khalid samad 02 
Khalid Samad, the Shah Alam MP, strangely became the target of protesters who were against the court ruling allowing a Christian publication to use the term "Allah".

Khalid was accused of conspiring against Muslims and one banner accused him of "sodomising" the Islamic faith.

For good measure, protesters also made sure that posters with Khalid's photograph were stepped on. All this took place within the compound of the Selangor state mosque.

Perak's independent trio

Pakatan Rakyat is not totally clean either, as revealed during the Perak DAP convention in November 2009.

NONEA giant banner depicting three former Pakatan state assemblyperson who paved the way for the BN takeover of the state in February that year, was used as a door mat for the convention.

Kit Siang was among those photographed standing on the banner, while his son Guan Eng gingerly leapt over it.

Perak DAP chief Ngeh Khoo Ham later conceded that not all party members condoned the act, but stopped short of condemning it.

Koh Tsu Koon

In September 2008, a minor tiff between then Penang BN chief Koh Tsu Koon and Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail escalated to the point where it almost tore apart the long ties between Gerakan and Umno.

pinang umno tear up koh tsu koon photo 080908 zainol abidin hashimEventually, the only thing that was torn up was a large framed photograph of Koh adorning the Penang Umno headquarters wall at that time.

After Ahmad's fiery press conference, one of his men smashed the photo frame before tearing up Koh's photograph while letting loose a loud roar that overwhelmed the staccato sounds of camera shutter clicks.

Najib Abdul Razak

Compared with the above instances, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak seemed to have got off pretty easy.

NONEIn December last year, a flag bearing his image was lowered during a protest by some 500 youths demanding academic freedom.

The perpetrator was Adam Adli, a student leader who was later quizzed by the police. He has been suspended by his university for three semesters, but no criminal action has been taken against him.

In April this year, the same group of students held another demonstration. 

A framed photograph of Najib and Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin with a funeral wreath was paraded by the protesters, before being dumped into a rubbish bin.- malaysiakini