Malaysiakini 17 April 2015 LINK
Related: See below for press statement by United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Press statement by:
Steven Thiru, Malaysian Bar president
Leonard Shim, Advocates’ Association of Sarawak president
GBB Nandy @ Gaanesh, Sabah Law Association president
The Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Association are appalled by the amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 passed by the Dewan Rakyat in the early hours of 10 April 2015.
We are extremely disappointed that the Malaysian Government has not only reneged from the promise made in 2012 to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with the National Harmony Act, but has substantially strengthened the former with drastic and oppressive provisions.
The Sedition Act 1948 is an archaic, obsolete, and regressive law that must be abolished. It severely restricts, or even extinguishes, the freedom of speech and expression, and hence tramples on the constitutional rights of Malaysians. It is the antithesis of democracy, justice, and human rights.
The amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 have dealt a crippling blow to the rule of law in Malaysia, and lend weight to the widely held public perception that we are becoming an intolerant authoritarian state.
The democratic space for frank, meaningful, and robust discourse has been palpably reduced.
The amendments reinforce the concern that the limits to freedom of speech and expression are to be determined by those in our society who are not open to adverse comments or contrary ideas, or who are easily offended or angered. This nurtures an environment of intemperance and intolerance.
The amendments passed by the Dewan Rakyat will result in a false sense of unity and harmony that is actually created by intimidation and a climate of fear. This perpetuates insecurity and suspicion amongst our citizenry, and does not augur well for the growth and maturity of our nation. Read the rest of this entry »