THE government is considering the introduction of a new act to impose civil penalties on individuals who exploit sentiments related to religion, kingship and race.
The proposed act, tentatively named the ‘State and Nation Act,’ would be similar to Singapore’s Maintenance of Racial Harmony Act but tailored to the Malaysian context, according to Law and Institutional Reform Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
“Any offence involving the 3R (race, religion, royalty) issue will be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 whereby the act is more geared towards elements of criminal offences. This often results in lengthy legal procedures,” Azalina pointed out.
She also stated that a more proactive and punitive approach is needed where violations would result in fines, making enforcement and conviction easier.
Azalina has presented the proposal to the Cabinet recently whereby it received a positive response. The aim of the new act is to address the increasing prevalence of exploiting 3R sentiments, especially through social media which can be challenging to prove due to a lack of solid evidence.
The introduction of the new act is seen as a solution to the 3R issue and a means of better meeting the needs of future generations. It ensures that penalties can be swiftly imposed on those who engage in activities that incite 3R discord, according to her.
Meanwhile, Azalina who is also UMNO’s information chief said the decision of the French Court of Appeal to reject the enforcement of a partial award to the Sulu Group proved the stability of the Madani government.
“The Sulu case cannot be won (by the Sulu Group) if the government is not stable. They took advantage. They are not stupid. They know that if the prime minister changes, sometimes the attorney general changes, they take advantage,” she added.
The Law and Reform Minister highlighted the stability of the government, exemplified by the recent French Court of Appeal’s rejection of a partial award to the Sulu Group. She emphasised that political stability is crucial to safeguarding the country’s peace, economy and the continuation of the people’s agenda.
Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek also mentioned the focus on political literacy among youth through the implementation of curriculum and programmes. The aim is to create a generation that is knowledgeable about their rights as citizens.
“Our current focus is on those who can already vote in the context of the Education Ministry’s segment, (those in) Form Six, matriculation and so on, they have been exposed to the curriculum,” Bernama quoted her as saying. – July 13, 2023