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We abolished the ISA, why not the Sedition Act?

Nathaniel Tan

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COMMENT | The statement of lawyer Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman that it is seditious to move for the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948 is, to say the least, a little farcical.

Indeed, it highlights perfectly the arbitrary and oppressive nature of this anachronistic law.

If questioning the Sedition Act is a criminal offence under the Sedition Act, we have here a law that will be in place, literally, until kingdom come.

What kind of fascist, authoritarian police-state would allow such an ‘invincible’ law – a man-made thing deemed as untouchable as things in the realm of the sacred?

Surely any law that is made by men can be unmade by men (or women, of course).

In Malaysia, the rhetoric that is often used to justify these laws has historically been something like: “The government needs some super-strong, unchallengeable laws to protect Malay power.”

This was precisely the type of reasoning used to justify the Internal Security Act 1960.

It was repeated time and time again by conservative hardliners that repealing the ISA would result in the country being plunged into utter chaos, and anarchists being given free rein to let slip the dogs of discord.

Needless to say, many argued that this would not be the case.

Even the most eloquent arguments, however, were not as effective as the manner in which the country did not, in fact, descend into any type of chaos whatsoever when the ISA was repealed in 2012. Life went on, and most Malaysians were none the wiser...

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