Is the gov't serious about revoking the Sedition Act?

Opinion  |  Nathaniel Tan
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Malaysiakini reports: “Former student activist Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi is being investigated under the Sedition Act 1948 for his speech last month which had allegedly insulted the Yang di Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.”

This is the latest in a set of worrying trends regarding continuing investigations under the Sedition Act and other draconian laws.

Asheeq himself is being investigated for his speech during a solidarity rally for activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri that was held when she was called in for questioning - also under the Sedition Act.

I attended that rally, and I must say, this sedition inception is getting ridiculous.

In the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, page 61 details Promise 27 to ‘Abolish Oppressive Laws’. The Sedition Act is the very first law mentioned in a list of laws that Harapan promised to revoke should they come to power.

We are nearing the 100-day mark of this new administration, and instead of seeing this law revoked, we are seeing more and more investigations take place using this archaic, draconian legislation.

Why is this happening?

This is appalling and must be ascribed to one of the following possibilities.

Firstly, that Harapan has lied about their intention to revoke the Sedition Act.

Secondly, that the Harapan government has not made clear its intention to revoke the Sedition Act to the agencies under its control.

Thirdly, government agencies are ignoring directives of the Harapan government, and are pursuing their own agenda.

All of the possibilities above are disturbing.

There are many instances in which I have not jumped on the bandwagon of cynicism and self-righteous anger, but in this case, I do believe very strongly that the Harapan government owes it to the rakyat to demonstrate its commitment and honesty with regards to the abolishing of draconian laws that have been used to oppress Malaysians for far too long.

If legislation for GST and anti-fake news can be abolished by acts in Parliament, why not the Sedition Act?

Even if we say, for the sake of argument, that such a process takes time, surely a simple memorandum and statement of policy would suffice to give a clear signal to the police that they are not under any circumstances to continue pursuing cases under a law that the government should by now have clearly stated is unjust and to be removed at the first opportunity...

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