The police should not have used the Sedition Act to arrest three people who allegedly insulted Sultan Muhammad V on social media, said two DAP youth figures said today.
In a joint statement, lawyer Syahredzan Johan and Subang DAP Youth chief Farhan Haziq Mohamed said police should use other provisions under the law to detain the suspects.
"We wish to state that we condemn the statements by individuals that communicated expressions which can be considered insulting against Sultan Muhammad V. We call upon all Malaysians to respect the system of constitutional monarchy as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
"At the same time, we object to the detention of the individuals under the Sedition Act. We take the position that, although what they have expressed may be offensive and unacceptable to society at large, they should not be detained under the Sedition Act.
"The Sedition Act is a colonial vestige that is draconian and repressive, as well as being an unreasonable and disproportionate restriction to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“Pakatan Harapan, in its manifesto, has also promised to repeal the act under Janji 27," Farhan and Syahredzan said in their statement.
Syahredzan is a constitutional lawyer and also political secretary to DAP MP Lim Kit Siang.
They added that while the Harapan cabinet had lifted a moratorium on the Sedition Act following Sri Mahamariamman temple fracas last year, the case against individuals did not fall under the same category.
"We do not see the expressions of the three individuals as falling within these categories even though their expressions should be condemned.
"The decision by the police to detain them under the Sedition Act is therefore contrary to the federal government's policy, and is a breach of the moratorium, and we urge that they are released immediately.
"We also wish to suggest to the police, if need be, to use other provisions of the law instead of the Sedition Act to investigate the individuals, although we do not see the need to detain them for more than 24 hours."
They also urged the government to step up efforts to abolish the act.
Police today said they had arrested three people yesterday for allegedly mocking Sultan Muhammad V on social media platforms over his recent resignation as Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
All three are being investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, inspector-general of police Muhamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.
He said the arrests followed police reports lodged by members of the public against the trio.