Malaysia: SUHAKAM urges immediate end to use of Sedition Act
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia is concerned by the alarming escalation in arrests and charges by the authorities under the Sedition Act.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) is deeply disturbed by the alarming escalation in arrests and charges by the authorities under the Sedition Act against Members of Parliament, State Assemblymen, students and, more recently, an academician.
It is unfortunate to note that the continued invocation of this outdated law enacted by the colonial authorities to restrict individuals' freedom of speech is on the rise and is seemingly being invoked on a regular basis.
Such actions by the authorities are unwarranted and will continue to curtail the citizens' right to freely debate issues or to express opinions that are vital in a vibrant democracy.
SUHAKAM urges the authorities to reconsider the proportionality, justification and necessity for arresting and charging individuals under the Act for their allegedly "seditious" remarks or acts.
It is imperative for the Government to urgently fulfil its pledge to repeal the Sedition Act and replace it with a National Harmony Act towards safeguarding the citizens' fundamental right to freedom of speech, as enshrined under article 10 of the Federal Constitution and article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Date: 2 September 2014