Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sedition Act here to stay, says Ahmad Zahid

UPDATED @ 03:20:34 PM 07-07-2013
BY MUZLIZA MUSTAFA
JULY 07, 2013
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today that no Cabinet decision has been made on the Sedition Act despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's announcement in London last week.
"The Cabinet has not made any decision on the Sedition Act but we will review it soonest possible," Ahmad Zahid said.
Najib announced the repeal of the Sedition Act on July 11 last year, which he said will be replaced with the National Harmony Act.
"We will amend the Sedition Act, but at the same time, there are certain provisions that will ensure Malaysia will continue to be a country that’s peaceful and harmonious,” he was quoted as saying.
In an interview with the BBC in London last week, Najib reiterated his position saying that he will honour his pledge but with certain provisions to ensure the country remains peaceful.
However, Ahmad Zahid reiterated his stand on the Sedition Act, saying the law will not be abolished.
Ahmad Zahid said he did not think that he was going against the prime minister in taking the stand.
He said his stand on the Sedition Act was based on the fact that four entrenched positions in the Federal Constitution would be open to abuse.
The four are on the Malay rights, sovereignty of Malay rulers, Malay as national language and Islam as the official religion of the federation
"I will not compromise if these four are touched. The repeal of the law would open these entrenched articles in the constitution to debate and abuse.
“That is why the Sedition Act is so important,” said Zahid in a press conference held at Putrajaya International Convention Centre today.
The Sedition Act put in place in 1948 is a law prohibiting discourse deemed as seditious.
The act criminalises speech with "seditious tendency”, including that which would bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the government or engender feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar last week has filed a private members bill calling for the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948.
The bill comes following the detention of several opposition figures and a student activist recently by the police following their statements on several issues.
Nurul Izzah said the detention of activist Haris Ibrahim, PKR vice-president Tian Chua, PAS member Datuk Tamrin Ghafar, student activist Adam Adli and PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa, all of whom were investigated under the Sedition Act, was selective prosecution.
She pointed out that abolishing the Act was in line with Najib's announcement a year ago that it will be replaced with a National Harmony Act.
Nurul Izzah lamented that the Act had been used liberally against the opposition but not against those who spoke in favour of the administration.
She said no action was taken against former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, former Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali and Utusan Malaysia, which is constantly sowing flames of hate. - July 7, 2013.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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