Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Putrajaya using Sedition Act to silence critics, says Bersih 2.0

Published: 26 August 2014

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) today expressed concern at the continued use of the Sedition Act 1948 "to silence dissenters and freedom of speech".
In a statement, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad of PAS was the latest opposition lawmaker to be charged with sedition.
"Khalid had merely given his opinion about dissolving the executive powers of the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais)," Maria said.
"But he has now been charged under the Sedition Act 1948 for giving his opinion.”

Maria said Seri Delima state assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer was expected to be charged with sedition for uttering the remark “Umno celaka”.

Furthermore, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli from PKR also has several cases against him pending under the Sedition Act.

"The list of opposition figures and activists who have been charged under the Sedition Act is not short either," Maria said.

On the list are Padang Serai MP N. Surendran (PKR), student activist Adam Adli, Batu MP Tian Chua (PKR) and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok (DAP).

Maria said Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman had also been charged with sedition.

"Considering the latest developments, it is clear that the Sedition Act will continue to be used as a weapon to silence dissenting voices.

"This is clear infringement of democratic spirit which always encourages different opinions and voices."

She said a government, which curtailed the freedom of speech, was also denying voters the rights of personal opinions which influenced their choice during the general election.

Bersih 2.0 called on Putrajaya to abolish the Sedition Act 1948.

"Putrajaya should be confident that the people can draw their own conclusions when confronted with alternative opinions or provocative speeches.

"Malaysians do not need such a draconian act to decide how to think," Maria said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had promised to abolish archaic and draconian acts when he took over the administration of the country in 2009.

Initially, Najib had succeeded in keeping his promise when he abolished the Internal Security Act 1960 and the Emergency Ordinance 1969.

Both laws had allowed for detention for trial, something which civil rights group had vociferously opposed.

However, Najib has yet to abolish the Sedition Act despite talks that he would replace it with a National Harmony Act. – August 26, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-using-sedition-act-to-silence-critics-says-bersih-2.0#sthash.YB7bIOZ7.dpuf

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