Tired of waiting for the government to act, PKR’s Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has submitted a Private Member's Bill to Parliament, seeking the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948.

Nurul Izzah said the document was sent to the secretary’s office yesterday and that she is “hopeful” and “optimistic” that it will be tabled for debate in the Dewan Rakyat.

"Normally, a Private Member's Bill (tabled by the opposition) will not see the light of day. But this is something that the government itself has pledged to do," she told a press conference in the Parliament lobby this morning.

She was referring to a pledge made a year ago by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to abolish the Sedition Act as part of his transformation agenda.
Nurul Izzah said she prepared the entire bill herself.

“They (the speaker and secretary) can always say that government orders or bills can supercede others,” she said, stressing that it was the prerogative of the speaker whether to allow a private member’s bill to be debated.

Nurul Izzah had tabled similar private member bills before, to abolish the Emergency Ordinance, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Petroleum Development Act.

Though none of these bills were allowed to be debated, the PPPA was later amended to reduce the Home Ministry’s powers, while the Emergency Ordinance was subsequently abolished.

“Previously, I tabled a bill to abolish the Emergency Ordinance. It was rejected but six months later the government abolished the ordinance,” she said.

Despite the government’s promise to abolish the Sedition Act, it was becoming a “favourite” with the ruling government, which was using it to “selectively prosecute” opposition leaders and activists since the May 5 general election.