Malaysiakini News

Ramkarpal regrets mooting use of sedition law

Published:  |  Modified:

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh has expressed regret for urging the authorities to apply sedition laws against former inspector-general of police Hanif Omar.

"I wish to state that it was an error on my part to suggest the same as I, too, am of the view that the Sedition Act 1948 ought to be abolished in line with my party's stand and what is promised in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto as the said act is draconian and has outlived its purpose.

"The error is regretted," he said in a statement today.

However, he said he still believed that a probe against Hanif under Section 505 of the Penal Code was warranted.

Section 505 referred to "statements conducing to public mischief". A violation of this section may result in a maximum two-year jail term, a fine or both.

Hanif had told a forum last Thursday at UiTM that DAP had wanted to carve up Malaya into two parts - east coast for the Malays and west coast for the Chinese.

He said that his solution to this at the time was to jail then DAP secretary-general Lim Kit Siang.

Hanif was the national police chief from June 1974 until January 1994. In 1987, Lim was jailed without trial under the Internal Security Act 1960. He was incarcerated for 17 months.

Racial harmony

Ramkarpal said that it would be "most unfortunate and worrying" if such statements were allowed without any fear of penal consequences as it could affect racial harmony.

He hoped that the necessary legislation to curb such statements would be enacted soon.

Following Ramkarpal's initial outburst against Hanif, National Human Rights Society (Hakam) had construed this as an endorsement of the Sedition Act 1948.

The law had long been accused of being abused by BN against political opponents.

Ramkarpal's party DAP had since clarified that they are of the opinion that the Sedition Act 1948 must be abolished as promised by Harapan as part of its election pledges.

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