Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Stop using Sedition Act, Canada tells Putrajaya

Published: 27 January 2015 3:33 PM
Human rights lawyer and Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen is the latest to have fallen afoul of the Sedition Act 1948. Many have called for his release and cited the incident as an example of Putrajaya’s iron grip on the freedom of expression. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 27, 2015.

Human rights lawyer and Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen is the latest to have fallen afoul of the Sedition Act 1948. Many have called for his release and cited the incident as an example of Putrajaya’s iron grip on the freedom of expression. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 27, 2015.
Malaysia must not use the Sedition Act to curb the freedom of expression in the country, said Canada’s foreign minister John Baird.
In a brief statement, Baird said such freedom was essential to any democracy.
“Following the recent announcement that the Sedition Act will be strengthened rather than repealed, Canada urges the Government of Malaysia to ensure that enforcement of its laws does not run contrary to its democratic principles by selectively prosecuting individuals for expressing views critical of the government or its policies."
About 25 opposition politicians, lawyers, academicians, students and other individuals have been either charged or investigated under the Sedition Act 1948.
The use of the colonial-era law by Putrajaya attracted criticism both locally and abroad.
Human rights lawyer and Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen is the latest to have fallen afoul of the Sedition Act 1948.
Paulsen is being investigate for tweeting that the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) promoted extremism during Friday sermons.
After his arrest, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Switzerland urged Putrajaya to end the investigation against Paulsen.
“The ICJ condemns the arrest and investigation of Paulsen under the archaic 1948 Sedition Act,” it said.
Human Rights Watch also condemned Paulsen's arrest, accusing Putrajaya of intimidation to hold on to power.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported de facto law minister Nancy Shukri as saying the freedom of expression in Sarawak and Sabah will still be protected as enshrined under the Malaysian Agreement 1963 once the proposed amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 were enforced.
Nancy said those who alleged that the proposed amendments would silence vocal critics of the federal government should do their homework first before making baseless accusations.
She said even mainstream media like The Star constantly criticised the government. Although some of the criticism was based on inaccurate stories, Putrajaya was still lenient. – January 27, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/stop-using-sedition-act-canada-tells-putrajaya#sthash.Q4FuAVvn.dpuf

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