Monday, January 5, 2015

'Sedition Act amendment violates East M’sian rights'

1:25PM Jan 4, 2015
By Joseph Tawie
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been warned of the consequences of amending the Sedition Act 1948 by the Umno-led government, in order to make it unlawful for the people of Sarawak and Sabah to exercise their legitimate right in voicing their grievances over what they see as the failure of the promises of Malaysia to uphold civil liberties and democratic freedom.

“Any such amendment shall constitute a violation of the people’s intrinsic rights, terms and conditions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the democratic basis for the formulation of Malaysia.

“The amendment shall be ‘utra vires’ without prior consultation with the people of Sarawak and Sabah, and also that the Sedition Act 1948 is an outdated British colonial law which has no place in a modern nation with respect for human rights and values.”

These are parts of the resolution adopted by some 100 concerned Sarawakians who were present at a public forum at a hotel in Kuching yesterday.

The forum was organised by civic groups of concerned Sarawakians to discuss the legal issues and implications of the Sedition Act 1948.

Three lawyers - comprising former Mas Gading MP Patrick Anek Uren, Sabah university law lecturer Amde Sidik, and Sarawak-born lawyer Robert Pei who is practising in Australia - were the panel speakers. The fourth speaker was Persatuan Hindraf Malaysia chairperson P Waythamoorthy (right in photo), who had previously been barred from entering Sarawak.

The resolution also expressed concerned with the proposal to amend the act in order to criminalise secession calls by Sarawakians and Sabahans for the two states to leave the federation of Malaysia.

Gov't urged to repeal the Sedition Act

“We, the people of Sarawak and Sabah, therefore urge the Malaysian government not to amend the Sedition Act 1948 and further implore the Malaysian government to repeal the act, as had been pledged by Prime Minister Najib,” said the resolution.

One of the organisers of the forum, Lina Soo, said that the people who attended the event were fully committed to defending the civil liberties and democratic freedom of the people of Sarawak and Sabah, and have resolved and unanimously adopted the resolution.

Meanwhile, Amde Sidik (left) questioned why Sarawak and Sabah were the “targets” of the proposed Sedition Act amendment.

“We don’t breed religious extremists and religious bigots in the two states. None of the Sarawakians and Sabahans have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We do not have ‘Ibrahim Alis’ or ‘Abdul Razaks’ in Sarawak and Sabah,” he noted.

Sarawakians and Sabahans, he stressed, were focusing on restoring their human rights in the Malaysia Agreement.

“If Sarawak and Sabah could not get out of the federation of Malaysia, why don’t we kick out Malaya from the federation?” he quipped.

Amde Sidik said that the real problems are with Umno, which wanted to protect the Islam and Malay rights that it considered under threat.

“Who are (really) threatening Islam and Malay rights?” he asked.

~ Malaysiakini

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