The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) said today it is concerned by Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh's call to use the Sedition Act 1948 against former inspector-general of police Mohammed Hanif Omar.
Hakam president Gurdial Singh Nijar said the call was inconsistent with civil society's longstanding position that the archaic act must be repealed in its entirety.
"Hakam notes with grave concern the recent call for the authorities to investigate Hanif under the Sedition Act in relation to an allegation that (DAP supremo) Lim Kit Siang had pushed for the division of Peninsular Malaysia into two after the 1969 race riots.
"This recent call also clearly violates Pakatan Harapan’s own manifesto to revoke the Sedition Act, which was a critical tool of the British colonial authorities to deal with freedom fighters like Ahmad Boestamam and India’s Mahatma Gandhi.
"Pertinently, it is also inconsistent with the previous appeals to courts, by the same lawmakers, to adjourn sedition cases pending the Home Ministry’s review and the prospect of abolishing the Sedition Act in Parliament," he said in a statement.
"It is thus only right that Harapan lawmakers keep true to their words, at all times."
Gurdial stressed that the Sedition Act was arbitrary, anti-democratic and had been abused by the previous administration on many occasions.
"Hakam reiterates its call for the urgent repeal of the Sedition Act and for a moratorium on all cases pending its repeal in Parliament.
"Further, there are sufficient existing laws and measures to ensure that the fundamental constitutional rights of all citizens are scrupulously protected.
"Lim himself is pursuing a civil remedy vide a defamation action against the former IGP," he added.
Hanif was on Thursday quoted by Sinar Harian as saying that DAP wanted to split Peninsular Malaysia along racial lines, and that he responded by putting Lim behind bars.
"At that time, the Alliance formed BN because the country was on the brink of destruction. DAP suggested that Peninsular Malaysia is split into two, East Coast for the Malays and the West Coast for the Chinese.
"What was my answer? I put Lim Kit Siang in prison.
"He was in (detention) for two years. That was Hanif's way when I was the IGP," he said.
Ramkarpal said he will be initiating legal action on behalf of Lim after Hanif failed to apologise.