THAT only 19 of the 960 cases investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) between 2010 and September 2023 were charged in court as revealed by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah recently is “evident enough” that the existence of the draconian law should be discontinued.
Moreover, human rights activist-cum-lawyer Charles Hector further expressed concern that “the Act that is totally unacceptable in any democracy” may result in a loss of support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led coalition government.
“PM Anwar-led PH coalition had earlier promised reforms and even the abolition of the Sedition Act if they came into power by imposing a moratorium on the use of this draconian Act pending abolition,” the Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET) co-founder pointed out in a media statement.
“After GE14 (the 14th General Election in May 2018), PH’s ‘excuse’ was that they were ousted by the Sheraton Move before they could repeal bad laws What then will the PH excuse be now that they have a second chance to govern?”
Against such backdrop MADPET wants the unity government to immediately “walk the talk about reforms as expected by the people and forthwith repeal the Sedition Act 1948”.
Additionally, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) also reiterates its call for the repeal of draconian Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and all other draconian legislations.
“Like the Sedition Act, Section 233 is vague and easily abused … it has been seen to be used together with the Sedition Act on internet users, maybe to prevent alternative views, freedom of expression and even sharing information/views of another with friends over the internet,” observed Hector.
“It is hoped that the desire to remain in power does not lead to actions/omissions designed to suppress the democratic rights of Malaysians.”
He added: “Bad and unjust laws must be repealed, and not simply maintained when one is in power so that it could be used or abused – if needed – against political opponents and ordinary people who disagree with government actions or views” – Nov 16, 2023
Main pic credit: Zunar