The government can take action under the Sedition Act against those involved in movements that attempt to get Sarawak to secede from Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
However, in line with its policy to promote freedom of speech, the prime minister said Putrajaya would only use the Act in extreme cases, where such calls jeopardise the country's security and public order.
"In line with the government's policy to promote freedom of speech as per Item 1 of Article 10 in the Federal Constitution, the use of provisions under the Sedition Act will only be utilised in cases where an act of sedition creates a situation that is beyond control that it jeopardises the security and public order," Mahathir said in a written reply released in Parliament yesterday.
He was replying to a question from Alice Lau Kiong Yieng (DAP-Lanang) who asked what action the government could take against those who call for the secession of Sarawak, and if such secession is allowed by the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963.
In his answer, Mahathir said several other laws under the Penal Code, including Section 121 for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, could also be used to deal with the matter if it involved an act or the preparation for an act of violence, such as the use of firearms.
According to the written reply, there was also no provision under the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or the Inter-Governmental Committee Report that touched on any rights by Sabah and Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
The right to secede from Malaysia was also not suggested for the terms in Malaysia's formation, as could be seen in the Cobbold Commission Report, Mahathir pointed out.