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Where in the world does anyone use Sedition Act? Not even Uganda, why Malaysia?

B Y V. AN BA L AG A N J UL Y 1 2, 20 13

Even if the Sedition Act is repealed, there is a clutch of existing laws that can be used by the authorities to deal with offences related to racial and religious strife and matters protected by the Federal Constitution, said criminal and constitutional lawyers. In many countries, they noted, sedition laws have either become obsolete or have been repealed. For example, in 2010, the courts in Uganda called the sedition law a legacy of British rule unconstitutional, while in India, the law that was used by the

British to detain Mahatma Gandhi is these days treated with disdain by the Indian Supreme Court. In England, which gave Malaysia and other Commonwealth countries the framework of their sedition laws, the last conviction was in 1909. So why is Malaysias Home Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi so insistent on keeping the Sedition Act here? Because it has become a convenient crutch for the government to suppress dissent, said the lawyers. They noted that the sedition law in Malaysia had over the years become an absolute liability offence, where the intention of the speaker is irrelevant. All the judge has to decide is if the words uttered were likely to create hostility towards the government. Lawyer Edmund Bon rattled off various provisions in the Penal Code to check on offences deemed seditious. Then, there was also the Printing, Presses and Publications Act 1984 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988 to keep an eye on conventional and the new media. But he noted that these laws required the prosecution to show intention while under the Sedition Act, it was easy for the state to obtain a conviction. The Sedition Act 1948 was enacted by the British to tackle the spread of communism during the emergency period. The communists officially surrendered to the Malaysian government in 1989 and since then, the sedition law has been used against opposition politicians and non-governmental organisations. Another lawyer, Amer Hamzah Arshad noted that any aggrieved party whose reputation was injured could file a defamation suit and obtain an injunction from court. "Let citizens handle their affairs privately. The state's involvement should be bare minimum," he said. Amer observed that there was selective prosecution where opposition politicians and activists were harassed with the sedtion law while those in favour of the establishment were left off the hook. "This is the perception of many... that the government is using the Sedition Act to silence its critics," Amer said.

He said as a society matured and a vibrant democracy evolved, those in authority must also learn to accept constructive criticisms. K. Shanmuga said the Court of Appeal has taken the stand that the sedition law was legal on grounds it did not breach the freedom of expression provision in the Constitution. "In moving with the times, the cabinet and Parliament must repeal this law to demonstrate that Malaysia is a forward looking nation," he said, adding that a state should not criminalise speech unless it incited violence and went against public order. Jeyaseelan Anthony, who wrote the book "Seditious Tendency? -Political Patronisation of Free Speech and Expression in Malaysia", went further. He said that any law that allowed people to be sent to jail for holding a different view is draconian and has no place in a countrys legal system. Anthony noted that in England, sedition laws were created to protect the British monarchy and the British Empire form being vilified, and came about when there was a belief that kings and queens had divine powers and god-sent. Therefore, any criticism against the monarchs was deemed sinful. Today, this reasoning is scoffed at. - July 12, 2013.

In London, Najib insists will repeal Sedition Act


JUL Y 03, 2013

Najib insisted that the law was only being applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security. AFP picPETALING JAYA, July 3 Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday renewed his pledge to do away with the criticised Sedition Act, even as authorities continue to wield the colonial era law against opposition members and activists. Speaking on British broadcaster BBCs World News programme, the prime minister insisted that the law that critics allege is used to silence dissent, was only being applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security. We have shown an awful lot of latitude to people who protest against the government, but people cannot say something that will undermine the stability of our country, Najib told BBC World News yesterday. We will amend the act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious, he added. In July last year, Najib announced that the 1948 law will be repealed but added that this would only be done once a replacement law a National Harmony Act is introduced in its place. Then de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had said this would happen this year. But the authorities decision to charge PKRs Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the act has renewed questions over the governments sincerity to do away with the controversial law. Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najibs announcement. Yesterday, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar filed a Private Members Bill with Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolishment of the law. More than a year ago Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced the governments decision to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 and replace with a law that will be known as the National Harmony Act. Unfortunately, the public is still waiting for Datuk Seri Najib to fulfil his promise, in fact they are stunned by the legal action on activists and Pakatan Rakyat politicians by using the Sedition Act post-Election 2013, she told a press conference in Parliament here.

Yesterday, Najib also pointed to his deliverance of previous pledges as evidence of his intent to repeal the Sedition Act. Since making the pledges during a live Malaysia Day address in 2011, Najib has repealed the Internal Security Act (ISA), lifted three Emergency Declarations, and passed the Peaceful Assembly Act to promote greater liberties pertaining to public gatherings. He has also removed the annual printing licences previously mandated by the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and allowed student participation in politics through amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971. The prime minister arrived in Britain from an earlier trip to Tanzania yesterday. He is scheduled to meet with British counterpart David Cameron tomorrow, and will also launch the Battersea project belonging to the consortium of Sime Darby, SP Setia and the Employees Provident Fund in London. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/in-london-najibinsists-will-repeal-sedition-act#sthash.09oz2VRb.dpuf
Friday, 12 July 2013 09:26

DON'T BE SO 'KAMPUNG': Come on, Zahid - Sedition & EO will take M'sia backwards!
Written by J. D. Lovrenciear

Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice! moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue! Those were the ending words of the Speech delivered by Barry Goldwater in San Francisco on 16 July 1964. Today, those words of the then leading Conservative political spokesman of the United States of America should resonate well within the hallways of power in Malaysia, given the prevailing rage to have the Sedition Act and EO in place.

As our BN politicians are scrambling behind the who-would-be the next BN-UMNO leader, aligning support for the Sedition Act seems to have become a defining element of eventual profit-or-loss for individuals. But sadly, these politicians fail to come to terms with the tidal waves sweeping across the four corners of the world. They fail to know or refuse to know that humanity has entered a new phase in its history on planet earth. Human rights not a luxury but a basic Today, the deluge of activist organizations and human rights champions in the world should clearly signal that the uncompromised tenor of warning unleashed by Goldwater against communism (or any form of regime-masters) and a pronounced hostility to excessive concentration of power in federal government has taken root. Our leaders both elected by the citizens and those who hobbled into the good books of appointments must realize that even world bodies are already putting the screws in to ensure that humanity attains liberation. The International Standards and Accounting demands, the International watchdog entities to name a few among the many for example, are already re-shaping government policies all over the world. The Malaysian BN-UMNO government cannot be an exception neither can it be wrapped inside a watershed. The magical days of Buy-British-Last and anti-Australia are long gone. Hence, insisting, arguing and bulldozing through to see daylight for the Sedition Act or the Emergency Ordinance is not only going against the very tides that are sweeping the world but will also set the nation entrapped in a lapsed wayside. Citizens of the world are going extreme distances to bring back liberties into their nations. The Egypt Spring is one such classic example. No matter how much one expremier of Malaysia may condemn the unfolding events in some parts of the world, the truth is people today realize that it is no more a sin to fight for liberty just as much as moderation (or manipulation as may be the case for Malaysia), in the pursuit of justice is no virtue. Stuck in the warlord mentality The world is shaping itself to embrace the opportunities arising from the new ways humanity will apply, use and live by the flow of information aided by breakthrough and breakaway communication technologies. As humanity prepares itself to be the master and servant of this new age networked society (Manuel Castells), with time flows and the

flow of space fast diminishing (Appadurai), there is no place too for moderation that BNUMNO seems to preach. We cannot think and act in the interest of the present and especially for those who insist that they must remain in power at all cost. We need to foresee the future of the many generations of Malaysians who need to sail through in the democratized world of tomorrow. In short, let us not kill the future progress of generations to come in the pursuit of justice to the power knights. We cannot go on kidding ourselves to be preaching about transformation and becoming a developed world status nation when we are sinking the nation with the yoke of outdated Sedition Act and Emergency Ordinance.
Read more: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php? option=com_k2&view=item&id=127431:sedition-act-and-eo-proponents-need-toknow&Itemid=2#ixzz2YnjPCHee Follow us: @MsiaChronicle on Twitter

Sedition Act: Amendment is not abolition


JUL Y 04, 2013

Yin Shao Loong is a policy advisor with a passion for history, human rights, and the environment. He lectures occasionally on ideas and history.
JULY 4 Several local news sites have been misreporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razaks statement to the BBC regarding his pledge to repeal the draconian Sedition Act. Historically the product of the era of absolutist monarchy in England, the Sedition Act criminalises criticism of the government, making it one of the most undemocratic laws in existence today. The source of the confusion appears to stem from the BBC itself which has interpreted Najibs intention to amend the Act as honouring his commitment last year to abolish it.

Amendment is not abolition. Amending the Sedition Act, which has been liberally used to suppress dissent since the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA), means to tweak it rather than do away with it entirely. Abolition of the Act would involve its repeal as a law, striking it from Malaysias statutes. By saying he will now amend the Sedition Act instead of abolishing it Najib has backtracked on his earlier pledge to the rakyat. This echoes his recent statement in Parliament that he would kaji semula or reassess the Act. Umno cybertroopers have already begun to defend the Sedition Act. The pledge to abolish the Sedition Act was made when Najib was attempting to boost his credentials as a liberal reformer. He had sacrificed the ISA, so treasured as an instrument of Barisan Nasionals authoritarian methods. However, as with other initiatives pushed by Najib the ISAs abolition was a bait-and-switch. It was replaced with the Securities Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). SOSMA replaced the ISAs indefinite detention without trial with a threat of indefinite judicial detention. Last year, Najib proposed the Orwellian-sounding National Harmony Act to replace the Sedition Act. No details were released, but it was likely another whitewashing exercise. The emphasis here was designed to evoke those aspects of the Sedition Act that criminalises attempts to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between different races and classes of the population of Malaysia. Given its track record of invoking ethnic tsunamis and hate speech an Umno-led government has the least moral standing to uphold such a law. Sufficient provisions exist within our Penal Code to criminalise defamation or incitement, the Sedition Act is not needed to protect multi-ethnic Malaysia. Freer media, debate and criticism of such hate speech is a better antidote than restrictive laws. But Najib and Umnos concern is not to defend harmony in Malaysia, it is to defend their grip on power. Sedition is a broad charge that has proven too attractive in policing dissent over electoral fraud and national security blunders. Since he announced its impending repeal last year, Najib has liberally used the Sedition Act at least 11 times. The new about-turn in policy indicates that the Sedition Act is here to stay. It will become the signature instrument of repression for the Najib administration in the way the ISA

was the black mark of the Mahathir era. Prepare yourselves for more transformation without change. * Yin Shao Loong is research director of Institut Rakyat. * This is the personal opinion of the columnist. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/yin-shaoloong/article/sedition-act-amendment-is-notabolition#sthash.PrVVT5wy.dpuf

No turning back -

Tay Tian Yan

J UL Y 12 , 2 01 3

Question 1: Did the Cabinet meeting approve the abolition of the Sedition Act? We won't know. Only Cabinet ministers attending the meeting have the answer. If the ministers cannot remember the details, they can always refer to the minutes. Question 2: Did the PM say he wanted to abolish the Sedition Act? Yes. This one is pretty sure. On July 11, 2012, exactly a year from today, the PM announced to abolish the Sedition Act and replace it with the National Harmony Act. Question 3: Is the ruling coalition after the election the same as the one before the election? Is the prime minister still the same guy? Most positively. What else could that be? Question 4: What was BN's election slogan? Janji Ditepati! All the answers are here. So, the distinguished BN ministers, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Shahidan Kassim, S. Subramaniam on one side and Mohd Nazri on the other side, what is there to argue?

Having assumed the post of home minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi took the lead in opposing the abolition of the Sedition Act. Minister in the PM's dept Shahidan Kassim was quick to echo. And the health minister S. Subramaniam justified it by claiming that the PM only proposed to abolish the Sedition Act which had yet to be approved by the Cabinet. Only tourism minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz begged to differ. He said the PM had proposed to abolish the Sedition Act in the Cabinet last year, and the same was unanimously agreed by the Cabinet. While the government and prime minister remain much the same over the course of past one year, policies and decisions appear to have changed. A year ago, Najib promised to abolish the Sedition Act in line with the political transformation programme to provide the public more room to express themselves. A year later, following the election outcome, some in the government started to worry things could get out of hand, so they tried to pull the brake and manoeuvre an abrupt U-turn. This could have something to do with the upcoming Umno elections, as a tough position normally lends a hand in securing broader support in the party. The point is, while policies can be reversed, it has to be done in a rational way. There must be valid reasons for the government to reverse any policy, which should meet the needs of the nation and general public's aspirations. As for the Sedition Act, it was born half a century ago, at a time when social situation was very different from what it is today. Risks lurked within the society and in politics, coupled with the need for the colonial government to tighten its grip on the people, hence the Sedition Act. But how about today? Our country has not come under any serious external threat; nor is our society severely polarised.. With civic awareness and political participation on the rise, the public's demands for democracy and freedom are significantly boosted. Of course, responsibility comes with freedom.

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Replacing the Sedition Act with the National Harmony Act provides a protective umbrella for the public to voice up within the permitted confines, especially on ethnic and religious matters and statements that could hurt the royal institution. Retaining the Sedition Act will make it hard for the government to keep up with the changing times and answer to the rakyat, denting further the credibility of the BN government, which is not going to do the PM or the ruling coalition any good. Janji Ditepati! There is no turning back for BN. - Sin Chew Daily, July 12, 2013.

This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Rifts in Umno tripping up Sedition Act repeal, says PKR


BY SY ED JAY MAL ZAHI ID AND BOO SU-LYN JUL Y 08, 2013UPDAT ED: JULY 08, 2013 03:56 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 Open contradiction now towards Datuk Seri Najib Razaks pledge to repeal the Sedition Act shows resistance from within Umno against the prime ministers reforms, PKRs Nurul Izzah Anwar (picture) said today. According to the PKR vice-president, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidis opposition to the repeal of the colonial era law also appears to cast doubt over Najibs authority since the former had defied the Cabinets position on the matter. The statement made by the prime minister, what more his promise, must be fulfilled and given the utmost attention.

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Instead, the Umno president is expected to face an internal collision that will lead to a clash of position, she told reporters in Parliament here. The Lembah Pantai MP noted that Ahmad Zahids statement ran counter to the position of Cabinet members like Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri who have openly called for the laws removal. Yesterday, the home minister claimed Putrajaya was merely looking at amending the Sedition Act instead of abolishing the controversial law, in an apparent about-face to the prime ministers pledge last year. Ahmad Zahid also denied that he had defied the Cabinets decision when he spoke against its repeal yesterday, saying his fellow ministers have yet to reach a decision on the colonial-era law that critics have described as archaic and draconian. However, Nurul Izzah said the home ministers remarks contradicted Nancys statement last Monday that the government was planning to repeal the law pending its replacement with the National Harmony Act. On July 11, 2012, the prime minister had expressed the governments wish to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with a new Act named the National Harmony Act, Nancy said in a written reply to an opposition lawmakers query on the matter. The decision to replace the Sedition Act 1948 was made because the government wanted to look for a mechanism that could produce a balance between ensuring freedom of speech and the need to manage the complexity of racial plurality in line with the provisions and safeguards given in the Federal Constitution, she added. Health Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam, however, said today that Najib had merely suggested abolishing the Sedition Act when he made his announcement in July last year. The MIC deputy president insisted that the Cabinet has not decided on repealing the law that human rights activists have denounced as a tool to suppress political dissidents. Speaking separately, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli today claimed that Ahmad Zahid, who is also an Umno vice-president, was taking the fall for Najibs apparent backtrack on abolishing the controversial law ahead of Umno elections this year.

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Zahid will take the fall so that, eventually, when the Cabinet reverses its decision, Najib will come clean, Rafizi told reporters in Parliament here today. This is Umnos election year. Most people in Umno hate the fact that the ISA has been repealed. Anyone whos against the Sedition Act does not look good, added the Pandan MP, referring to the Internal Security Act (ISA). Rafizi also asserted that Ahmad Zahid would not have spoken out against the repeal of the Sedition Act without Najibs endorsement. Zahid is a team player, said Rafizi. They would have made the decision in backtracking. Zahid takes the heat. Najib told British broadcaster BBC in London on July 2 that the Sedition Act was only applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security, saying: We will amend the Act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious. In October, Nazri, who was then the de facto law minister, said the proposed National Harmony Act will keep the main elements of the Sedition Act, but will have the additional element of allowing for criticism of the government. He added it would happen this year. But the authorities decision to charge PKRs Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the Act has renewed questions over the governments sincerity to do away with the controversial law. Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najibs announcement. Last week, Nurul Izzah filed a Private Members Bill in Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolition of the law. Ahmad Zahid stressed yesterday that the Sedition Act was necessary to ensure that nobody could question the four issues embedded in the Federal Constitution on the position of Islam as the official religion, Malay as the national language, special rights of the Bumiputeras, and the position of the Malay Sultans. Ahmad Zahid has been seen as a strong advocate of preventive detention laws, which the Najib administration has slowly begun to remove as part of its reform measures. Najib was seen to initiate a raft of legal reforms after taking office in April 2009, introducing a law that allowed peaceful assemblies in public and abolishing the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance (EO), both which allowed for detentions without trial.

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- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/rifts-in-umno-trippingup-sedition-act-repeal-says-pkr#sthash.uVYmQDUN.dpuf

Cabinet yet to decide on Sedition Act, says home minister


BY ZURAIRI AR JUL Y 07, 2013

The Home Minister also denied that he had gone against Cabinet consensus when he spoke against the Acts repeal yesterday. file picPUTRAJAYA, July 7 Putrajaya is merely looking into amending the controversial Sedition Act instead of abolishing it, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today in an apparent backpeddle against the prime ministers pledge last year. The home minister also denied that he had defied the Cabinets decision when he spoke against its repeal yesterday, saying his fellow ministers had yet to reach a decision on the colonial-era law that critics have described as archaic and draconian. The Sedition Act must stay, Ahmad Zahid told reporters after gracing the International Anti-Drug Day event here. The Cabinet wants to look into it, not deciding to abolish it. The Cabinet did not decide to abolish it, but to amend, he added. Ahmad Zahids remarks today appear to reinforce the latest view that Najib administration may be having second thoughts about doing away with the 65-year-old law, widely-criticised for empowering the authorities to arbitrarily silence dissent. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told British broadcaster BBC in London last week that the law was only applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security.

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We have shown an awful lot of latitude to people who protest against the government, but people cannot say something that will undermine the stability of our country. We will amend the act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious, Najib told BBCs World News programme on July 2. In July last year, Najib announced that the 1948 law will be repealed but added that this would only be done once a replacement law a National Harmony Act is introduced in its place. In October, then de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the proposed National Harmony Act will keep the main elements of the Sedition Act, but will have the additional element of allowing for criticism of the government. He added it would happen this year. But the authorities decision to charge PKRs Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the act has renewed questions over the governments sincerity to do away with the controversial law. Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najibs announcement. Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has filed a Private Members Bill with Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolition of the law. Ahmad Zahid reiterated today that the Sedition Act is necessary to ensure that nobody can question the four issues embedded in the Federal Constitution on the position of Islam as the official religion, Malay as the national language, special rights of the Bumiputra, and the position of the Malay kings. I will not compromise if there are individuals who want to touch on these four issues, he said. Ahmad Zahid has been seen as a strong advocate of preventive laws, which the Najib administration has slowly begun to remove as part of its reform measures. Najib was seen to initiate a raft of legal reforms after taking office in April 2009, introducing a law that allowed peaceful assemblies in public and repealed the muchdreaded Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinance (EO), both which allowed for detentions without trial. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/cabinet-yet-todecide-on-sedition-act-says-home-minister#sthash.viFCoaLW.dpuf

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Nazri and Zahid differ on repeal of Sedition Act


Posted on July 7, 2013by mocsarawak

By EDMUND NGO and LEE YEN MUN

PETALING JAYA: Two ministers are taking a different stand on the Sedition Act 1948 with one for repealing it and the other calling for it to be retained. Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said that the Government was committed to repealing the Act while Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi believes that the Act should remain, as abolishing it might lead to dispute over certain core aspects of the Federal Constitution. Nazri, an Umno Supreme Council member, said that he had been informed that the Attornery-General was looking at repealing the Act. We are committed to go through with the repeal. However, it is important that when we repeal it, we still need an Act that could preserve the harmony and unity between Malaysians of different ethnic groups, he told journalists after visiting Kellies Castle in Batu Gajah while launching its tourism upgrade project here Sunday.

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Zahid, an Umno vice-president, had told journalists after launching the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Putrajaya that repealing the Act could lead to disputes over four aspects in the Constitution. According to Zahid, the four core aspects are the special rights of Malays, the status of Malay rulers, the status of Islam as the Federal religion and the status of Bahasa Melayu as the national language. The Home Minister said he wanted the Act retained so that these will not be questioned. The Cabinet cannot decide to abolish (the Act) but (it can propose) to amend. If the Sedition Act is abolished wholly, (people) will have the rights to touch on these four areas although these are enshrined in the Constitution. I will not compromise if there are parties who want to touch on any of these four main aspects of the Constitution. Those who do, must be charged under the existing Sedition Act 1964, said Dr Ahmad Zahid on Sunday after launching the commemoration of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking here. In July 2012, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak promised that the Government would repeal the Act in favour of a new National Harmony Act. - Star

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Nazri insists Cabinet agreed to repeal Sedition Act


BY BO O SU-L YN JUL Y 08, 2013UPDAT ED: JULY 09, 2013 06:59 AM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz maintained today that the Cabinet had collectively agreed to abolish the Sedition Act, contrary to recent statements by two of his other colleagues. Nazri (picture), who was then the de facto law minister, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced in July last year that the colonial-era law would be repealed and replaced with the National Harmony Act to manage race relations in the country. Its a commitment made by the prime minister in public, he told reporters at Parliament here today. Subsequently, he brought it up in Cabinet and the Attorney-Generals Chambers (AGC) was asked to look into the details, said Nazri, now the tourism and culture minister. The prime minister has said hell never renege on his statement, said Nazri. Its his stand. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said earlier today that Najibs pledge last year was merely a suggestion and that the Cabinet has yet to decide on abolishing the Sedition Act. Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi similarly said yesterday that the federal government was merely looking at amending the law, which human rights activists have denounced as a tool to silence political dissidents, instead of quashing it. When asked about the progress of the proposed National Harmony Act, Nazri said that the AGC was in the process of engaging the stakeholders.

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Najib told British broadcaster BBC in London on July 2 that the Sedition Act was only applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security, saying: We will amend the Act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious. Last October, Nazri said the proposed National Harmony Act will keep the main elements of the Sedition Act, but will have the additional element of allowing for criticism of the government. He added it would happen this year. But the authorities decision to charge PKRs Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the Act has renewed questions over the governments sincerity to do away with the controversial law. Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najibs announcement. Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has filed a Private Members Bill with Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolition of the law. Ahmad Zahid said yesterday that the Sedition Act is necessary to ensure that nobody can question four issues embedded in the Federal Constitution the position of Islam as the official religion, Malay as the national language, the special rights of the Bumiputra, and the position of the Malay kings. Ahmad Zahid has been seen as a strong advocate of preventive laws, which the Najib administration has slowly begun to remove as part of its reform measures. Najib was seen to initiate a raft of legal reforms after taking office in April 2009, introducing a law that allowed peaceful assemblies in public and abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinance (EO), both of which allowed for detentions without trial.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/nazri-insistscabinet-agreed-to-repeal-sedition-act#sthash.ejHDB1vr.dpuf

PM only suggested Sedition Act repeal, says Subra


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BY BO O SU-L YN JUL Y 08, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 A suggestion was all that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made when he announced plans to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 last year, Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam said today. The health minister stressed that the Cabinet has yet to decide whether to abolish the colonial-era law that critics have denounced as a tool to silence political opponents and dissent. The prime minister (picture) has the right to make a suggestion, Subramaniam told reporters at the Parliament House here today. He has to bring it back to Cabinet, he added. In July last year, the prime minister announced that the Sedition Act will be repealed but added that this would only be done once a replacement law a National Harmony Act is introduced in its place. Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday, however, that Putrajaya was merely looking at amending the Sedition Act, instead of abolishing it. But Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz separately said the exact opposite yesterday, insisting that the federal government is committed to repealing the Sedition Act. Najib told British broadcaster BBC in London on July 2 that the law was only applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysias security, saying: We will amend the Act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious.

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Subramaniam said today that whether the Sedition Act is amended or replaced with another law, freedom of speech needed to be balanced with maintaining national security. We have to give enough space for people to freely express their opinions, said the MIC deputy president. That will be maintained together with ensuring national security. In October, Nazri, who was then the de facto law minister, said the proposed National Harmony Act will keep the main elements of the Sedition Act, but will have the additional element of allowing for criticism of the government. He added it would happen this year. But the authorities decision to charge PKRs Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the Act has renewed questions over the governments sincerity to do away with the controversial law. Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najibs announcement. Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has filed a Private Members Bill in Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolition of the law. Ahmad Zahid stressed yesterday that the Sedition Act is necessary to ensure that nobody can question the four issues embedded in the Federal Constitution on the position of Islam as the official religion, Malay as the national language, special rights of the Bumiputeras, and the position of the Malay kings. Ahmad Zahid has been seen as a strong advocate of preventive detention laws, which the Najib administration has slowly begun to remove as part of its reform measures. Najib was seen to initiate a raft of legal reforms after taking office in April 2009, introducing a law that allowed peaceful assemblies in public and abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinance (EO), both which allowed for detentions without trial.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pm-onlysuggested-sedition-act-repeal-says-subra#sthash.6PjRhbty.dpuf

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You cant teach an old politician new tricks


J UL Y 1 2, 20 13

Zan Azlee is a documentary filmmaker, journalist, writer, New Media practitioner and lecturer. He runs Fat Bidin Mediawww.fatbidin.com
What happens when an elected representative does something in office that is against the wishes of his electorate? To be more specific, what if he does something without consulting his constituency and is mainly for his own personal benefit? Well, in most cases around the world, this would be unethical and the elected representative would come under heated pressure and probably lose in the next election. But in Malaysia, it happens to be quite all right. Because, you see, in this country, elected leaders are one step higher than normal people. What they say is like gospel for everybody. Don't believe me? Then check out our newspapers. It is filled with elected leaders saying this and that as advise for the people. Take for example, the new Home Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Ahmad Hamidi, who recently said that the Sedition Act should not be abolished. He says this with full aplomb as if his judgement is the right one and should be the decision best for the country. In truth, the Sedition Act is as archaic as the ISA and a sack of fosillised mammoth bones that is about to turn into petroleum and then processed by Petronas. At the moment, the Sedition Act cover is just too wide and vague that it allows the authorities a lot of leeway for manipulation. So, it deserves at least an update.

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Even the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, announced much earlier (many times, even) that the act would be abolished. And it is not just Ahmad Zahid who is against the abolition of the Act. Many other BN leaders are too. So, I guess this just shows that many leaders are still too entrenched in old politics. This old politics is the one that makes them think they do not have to answer to anyone and that they were elected through divine intervention. An elected representative needs to listen to what the public wants because they need to realise that it is this public that holds the fate of their political career. As it is, the popular vote has already been lost by the Barisan Nasional. They cannot afford to further alienate this segment of the population. It does not take a genius political analyst to deduce that the Malaysian public wants an immediate change. If it is not a change of the guards, then at least a change within. Malaysians are smart and getting smarter, and likewise, they want smart people to represent them too. This is only natural. So to stay on top, politicians these days cannot be same old guards who are not of the same intellectual capabilities as the rest of Malaysia. Gone are the days when democracy was supposed to be Malaysian style. It is no longer top down where those who have been elected write the rules. Democracy is democracy no matter where it is practised, and what it means is that the people decide and write the rules. Those who have been elected are only there to serve that purpose, which is to represent those who elected them, with their best interests at heart. And then, boom! What does Ahmad Zahid decide to do again? He, along with his deputy, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, goes all god-like again! They decide to go against the decision of a panel of distinguished law professionals consisting of chief justices, lord presidents, lawyers, academics, journalists and thinkers.

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According to these two who seem to know the law better, setting up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is unconstitutional. Oh well, as they say, you really cant teach an old politician new tricks. Or something like that, right? - July 12, 2013.

BN reneging on GE promise with Sedition Act


Posted on July 7, 2013by mocsarawak

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today said Home Minister Zahid Hamidis refusal to support the abolition of the Sedition Act 1948 amounted to a betrayal of BNs general election Janji Ditepati (Promise Fulfilled) slogan. Furthermore, Lim said this was in open defiance of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who had one year ago promised that the Sedition Act would be replaced with a National Harmony Act, but it has yet to happen. Such defiance by Ahmad Zahid is unacceptable. Najib must provide certainty and clarity that he is committed to abolishing the Sedition Act by demanding that Zahid toe the line, reverse his stand and support the abolition, he said in a statement today. He added that if Ahmad Zahid refuses to withdraw his opposition to the abolition, he must then resign from the cabinet.

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Failing which, Najib should explain to the people why he is breaking BNs promise and betrayed the voters by not fulfilling his pledge to abolish the Sedition Act, he said. Lim also rubbished Ahmad Zahid claim that there would be nothing left to regulate seditious content if the law were to be abolished, pointing out that there are provisions to deal with such matters in the Penal Code as well as civil defamation action. The Sedition Act has a sorry record of been abused and misused against opposition politicians. it is clear that Zahid is intent on retaining such oppressive laws so that it can be used against opposition Pakatan Rakyat leaders, said Kit Siang, adding that he was speaking as a past victim imprisoned by such laws. Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid today defended his remarks, stating that he was not going against the premier as there is no final cabinet decision on the matter yet, according to Malay Mail Online. Sedition Act U-turn Furthermore, contrary to Najibs pledge last year, Zahid said the cabinet was only contemplating amending the law. The cabinet wants to look into it, not abolish it. The cabinet did not decide to abolish it, but to amend, he was quoted as saying.

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Najib it an interview with BBC this month had similar said the government planned to amend the law but made no mention about the replacement he had promised before. After the 13th General Election in May, the government had repeatedly used the Sedition Act against critics questioning its legitimacy. Among those charged under the law were PKR vice president Tian Chua, PAS member Thamrin Ghafar (right), social activist Harris Ibrahim and student activists Adam Adli Abdul Halim and Mohd Safwan Anang. Malaysiakini

Cabinet agreed to Sedition Act repeal, insists Nazri


B Y M OH D F AR HA N D AR WI S J UL Y 0 8, 20 13

The decision to abolish the Sedition Act was made by the Cabinet last year, said Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz (pic), providing some clarity to an episode which continues to embarass the Najib administration. He said the Attorney-General's Chambers is working on it and is currently engaging stakeholders before coming out with a new law.

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"While I was the de facto Law Minister, Najib had clearly spelled out his commitment to the Cabinet to repeal the Sedition Act and replace it with a National Harmony Act," Nazri said. "Maybe (Health Minister) Dr S. Subramaniam has forgotten... the issue was more than a year ago. But I was the minister responsible for legal matters at that time," he told reporters in Parliament today. Subramaniam had earlier today said that the repealing of the Sedition Act was merely Najib's suggestion, and as the country's leader, he had the right to propose such actions. "But the Cabinet has not met and reached a decision on whether the Sedition Act should be repealed. It is only a suggestion from Najib," Dr Subramaniam said this morning at the Parliament. Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is leading the charge to keep the Sedition Act, was also the Defence Minister at the time. Today Nazri declined to comment on the contradiction brought about by Ahmad Zahid's change in position on the Sedition Act but reiterated he was only interested in facts. Nazri said Najib was committed to his decision made in July last year that the Sedition Act would be repealed and replaced with a different statute. "I remember when Najib made his promise, it was during his speech at a law conference held at KLCC." Pressure from various quarters previously had led to the dissolution of the Internal Security Act and the Emergency Ordinance in 2012. Ahmad Zahid, the Bagan Datoh MP, had attributed the spike in crime cases to the repealing of the preventive laws.

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Tough task for Najib on Sedition Act


B Y J EN NI FE R GO MEZ A ND YISW AR EE P AL AN SA MY

J UL Y 0 8, 20 13

When Datuk Seri Najib Razak returns from a holiday in the south of France soon, he will have a tough job convincing his own Cabinet that the Sedition Act needs to be repealed. A check by The Malaysian Insider with BN lawmakers at Parliament today showed that the majority said there needs to be more careful study before any decision is taken in political language, this is often interpreted as a polite rebuff or disagreement with official thinking. In July last year, the prime minister announced that the 1948 law would be repealed as part of his governments transformation programme. Last week, he renewed his pledge in an interview with the BBC. His decision did not find support with Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who argued that without the Sedition Act there would not be any law to regulate seditious content. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said there needs to be proper engagement on the matter first as it involves public interest. "Do what is best for the country and the people," she said, adding that it was best that Najib and Zahid meet and reach a consensus on the issue. Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom also said that the question of abolishing the Sedition Act needs proper study while Health Minister Datuk Dr Subramaniam preferred to view the PMs statement on the Sedition Act as a suggestion. The prime minister is the leader of the country, he has the right to make suggestions, Dr Subramaniam told reporters at the Parliament lobby today. Last year, Umno and BN leaders were more supportive of moves by Najib to repeal the Internal Security Act and other legislation viewed as draconian and restrictive,

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accepting the position that middle Malaysia would welcome these reforms and then support BN at the ballot box. But abolishing these laws did not translate to votes. The more conservative elements in Umno now argue that this policy of appeasing the middle ground was a failure. There has been a marked change in the attitude by Umno politicians towards removing what they consider the old structures of the country, which they believe were critical in ensuring proper behaviour by the opposition and maintaining political stability during the Mahathir years. Some like Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim just want the old laws to be left alone. He said that as a result of the abolition of the Emergency laws that allow criminals to be detained without trial, the incidence of crime had spiked in Malaysia. For the opposition, the debate over abolishing the Sedition Act could have a familiar ending where the Act remains intact. But what was troubling was that Najib was being contradicted in public by a subordinate. DAPs Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming wondered: So now, who is really calling the shots? PKRs strategist Rafizi Ramli said he expected the scope of the Sedition Act to be widened, given the mood in Umno these days. And with party elections due in October, Umno leaders in government will be keen to keep party delegates happy. What matters is what makes Umno happy, he noted, adding that concerns about freedom of speech and what other constituencies in the country wanted were secondary to what the ruling party deemed important. July 8, 2013

The Sedition Act 1948


Posted on September 25, 2010 by cijmy Early History

In 1948, the Sedition Act was enacted by the British colonial government to combat the Communists. Amendments were made through an Emergency Ordinance 1971, not long after the riots of 1969, to criminalise any questioning on Part III (on citizenship), Article 152 (on national

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language), Article 153 (on the special positions of the Malays and the rights of other races) and Article 181 (the Rulers sovereignty) of the Federal Constitution. Power The Act has a very wide definition of sedition, and places many limitations of freedom of expression, particularly regarding supposedly sensitive political issues. According to some media commentators this legal uncertainty very much favours the prosecutor. It also means that what is seditious is not just a legal but also a political issue. Under the Act, those who commit an offence can be fined up to 5,000 Ringgit (USD 1326) and / or imprisoned up to three years. A second offence carries a sentence of up to five years imprisonment. A seditious tendency is then defined in section 3 as follows to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or government. to seek alteration other than by lawful means of any matter by law established. to bring hatred or contempt to the administration of justice in the country to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects to promote ill-will and hostility between races or classes to question the provisions of the Constitution dealing with language, citizenship, the special privileges of the Malays and of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the sovereignty of the Rulers. Section 4(1) of the Act covers the preparation of an action, which would have a seditious tendency. It also covers speech and the printing, publishing, selling (or offering for sale), distribution, reproduction or importation of seditious materials. In a briefing session with journalists, human rights lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah pointed out that the burden of proof lay with the person who has in their possession articles deemed seditious. Historically, the Sedition Act has been invoked against those critical of the government, including members of parliament. Under the Act, members of parliament can have their parliamentary immunity suspended, if found guilty of sedition. Over the years, many have been charged and found guilty under the Act. As recent as year 2009, the law has been one of the main intruments used to arrest those opposed to the BN takeover of the Perak state government.

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Recommended best practices Under international law the test for restrictions on freedom of expression requires all such restrictions to be provided by law. This means that the law should be accessible and also that it should not be excessively vague. The crime of sedition, as set out in the Sedition Act, is far too vague to meet this standard. This is of particular importance given the criminal nature of these offences and the potential penalty of imprisonment. Both sedition and seditious tendency are loosely defined and subjective words such as hatred, contempt, discontent, feelings of illwill and disaffection are used without any definition. The second test is legitimacy. The guarantee of freedom of expression only permits restrictions on this fundamental right for the purpose of protecting certain aims, namely the rights or reputations of others, national security or public order (ordre public), or public health or morals. It is not sufficient, to satisfy this part of the test, for restrictions on freedom of expression to merely incidentally effect one of the legitimate aims listed. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, along with some national courts, have recognised that sedition laws are not required to maintain public order and State security, and in fact they actually undermine these goals. Accordingly, the Commission recommended that members of the Organisation of American States (OAS) repeal or amend laws, which criminalise speech critical of the government or governmental officials: Finally and most importantly, the Commission notes that the rationales behind desacato laws, (which criminalise speech critical of government and public officials) reverses the principle that a properly functioning democracy is indeed the greatest guarantee of public order. These laws pretend to preserve public order precisely by restricting a fundamental human right which is recognized internationally as a cornerstone upon which democratic society restsIn this respect, invoking the concept of public order to justify desacato laws directly inverts the logic underlying the guarantee of freedom of expression and thought guaranteed in the Convention. (emphasis added) The third test is of necessity. The necessity part of the test only permits restrictions on freedom of expression which are rationally connected to achieving the legitimate aim; not overbroad, including in the sense of there being a less intrusive way of achieving the same aim; and which are proportionate, in the sense that the harm to freedom of expression is outweighed or justified by the benefits accrued.

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As noted above, there is no rational connection between the aim of protecting public order and the crime of sedition. Shielding governments from criticism is, in fact. More likely to undermine public order, as properly understood, than to protect it. Even more serious is the vast overbreadth of the sedition provisions in Malaysia, as illustrated by these cases in which they have been applied. It is clear from these cases that the impact of the law, even if it does at its core address a legitimate aim, restricts speech well beyond that legitimate aim. Furthermore, there exists a wide range of other laws, which are more carefully tailored to protecting public order and which are less open to political manipulation. Indeed, once the scope of sedition is interpreted more narrowly, there is no need for the offence since it is entirely included within other, more appropriate, public order offences. As the UK Law Commission pointed out in recommending the abolition without replacement of the common law offence of sedition: [B]efore a person can be convicted of publishing seditious words, or a seditious libel or of seditious conspiracy [in the UK] he must be shown to have intended to incite to violence, or to public disorder or disturbance, with the intention thereby of disturbing constituted authority. In order to satisfy such a test it would, therefore, have to be shown that the defendant had incited or conspired to commit either offences against the person, or offences against property or urged others to riot or to assemble unlawfully. He would, therefore, be guilty, depending on the circumstances of incitement or conspiracy to commit the appropriate offence or offences Perhaps the most serious defect of the sedition laws is that they represent a disproportionately serious interference with democratic debate. Any benefits the may be deemed to bring in terms of protecting public order, which, as the analysis above makes clear, are slight and far outweighed by the harm done to freedom of expression in its most important guise, namely as an underpinning of democracy. The point here is that the harm to democracy from prohibiting statements that fall within the ambit of the term sedition is far greater than any benefits in terms of protecting public order that might result from banning seditious speech. Cases in point Public Prosecutor v. Param Cumaraswamy [1986]

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This case received an international attention whereby the UK Bar Council, the International Bar Association, and LAWASIA held a watching brief each. In 1985, Sim Kie Chon, a poor labourer, was arrested under the ISA for possession of a firearm: an unlicensed revolver and five rounds of ammunition. He was sentenced to the mandatory death sentence provided by the ISA. On July 24th of that year, Vice President of the Bar Council, Param Cumaraswamy held a press conference at the office of the Selangor and Federal Territory Bar Committee in Kuala Lumpur. He was making an appeal to the Pardons Board to reconsider the petition for the commutation, or downgrading, of Sim Kie Chons sentence. For the conference, Cumaraswamy prepared a statement from which he would read and hand out to the reporters that were present. His appeal was based on a concern that the Pardons Boards prerogatives were not being used uniformly in other words, he was suggesting that if the Pardons Board were to continue to quash the petition for the commutation of Sims case, they would give the public the impression that they were discriminating between the rich and poor. In this statement, he brought up the case of an ealier trial in which the former Minister Mokhater Hashim was found guilty of murdering a political rival. Even though this earlier instance was much more serious that Sim Kie Chons, the former ministers death sentence was commuted to life in prison by the Pardons Board. The people should not be made to feel that in our society, Mr Cumaraswamy stated, the severity of the law is meant only for the poor, the meek and the unfortunate whereas the rich, the powerful and the influential can somehow seek to avoid the same severity. This statement, both read and distributed, landed Param Cumaraswamy in court, facing charges of sedition. This was a criminal case presided over by Chan J, and for which the public prosecutor was represented by Mohamed Nor bin Hj Ahmad, and NG Aik Guan. The defendant was represented by Raja Abdul Aziz Addruse, C.V Das, P. Royan, Manjeet Singh Hillon and Darryl Goon. In this case, there was no doubt regarding the facts of Mr. Cumaraswamys press conference and statements the question was whether his statement could actually be considered seditious. In his defense, Param explained that his press conference was to bring to the notice of the Pardons Board his open appeal to the board to review their previous advice in the hope that the Board would recommend the death sentence on Sim Kie Chon to be commuted to life imprisonment. In fact, rather than attempting to cause discontent or disaffection, he was urging the Board to act fairly and uniformly so as not to cause disaffection among the people who may feel that the Board was discriminating. Chan J noted that his statement clearly did not show any tendency to cause or raise disaffection among the people. Nor did Params statements have a tendency, he found,

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to create discontent among the general public towards authority. In closing, Chan J. stated that Mr Cumaraswamys appeal was directed at the Pardons Board [] there can be no question of the statement having a tendency to bring into hatred or contempt or to excited disaffection against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Though Mr. Cumaraswamy was acquitted of sedition, he was unsuccessful in changing the Pardons Boards mind regarding Sim Kie Chon. Public Prosecutor v Oh Keng Seng (1978) Public Prosecutor v Oh Keng Seng explains the reasoning of the trial judge, Ajaib Singh J with regards to sedition, freedom of speech and how the limitations imposed by law is applicable. The accused, Oh Keng Seng was charged with seditious tendency for uttering seditious words in Mandarin. The reasoning of the judge discussed four main issues and they are: i) whether the accused speech uttered in Mandarin was bona fide and fair criticism of the government ii) that the intention of the accused is irrelevant if in fact of the words have a seditious tendency which is provided for under section 3(3) of the Sedition Act iii) that the prosecution was not obliged to prove that the speech uttered by the accused contained anything that was true or false etc iv) whether the accused had succeeded in proving on a balance of probabilities that the speech delivered by the accused came within any of the permissible limits set out in section (2) of the Sedition Act With regards to the first issue bona fide and fair criticism of the law is allowed as long as it is within the bounds of 3(3) of the Sedition Act 1948. However, the trial judge emphasised that although freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a democratic right utmost care must be taken to ensure that it does not have any seditious tendency as defined under the Sedition Act. On the second issue, the defendants lead counsel, Mr Yeap Ghin Guan argued that the accused had no intention of uttering any form of sedition although he did not deny the content of the said speech.

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The trial judge agreed with the prosecutions argument that the intention of the accused when he made the speech was irrelevant if in fact the words have seditious tendency which is provided for in section 3(3) of the Sedition Act. Although the act quite clearly defines what amounts to seditious tendency the interpretation of its applicability is subjective. It would also mean that if the speaker is unaware of the content of his speech he could still be charged with sedition because the intention of the speaker is not taken into account. The third issue is an extention of the second issue which discusses what needs to be proved in order to claim seditious tendency. It has been established in the case against the accused that the prosecution is not obliged to prove that anything said in his speech was true or false or that it caused any disturbance or a breach of the peace. This contradicts the definition in the Act that the words must have seditious tendency because seditious tendency cannot be proved if the prosecution is not obliged to evidence the above. Nevertheless, the trial judge placed importance on preserving harmony especially in a multi racial community and the lessons learned based on past historical events like the May 13 incident. In the final issue, the judge declared that the accused had not succeeded on a balance of probabilities that the speech delivered came within the permissible limits as set out in section (2) of the Sedition Act. Eventhough the lead counsel for the accused raised issues about the use of subversive documents in s 29(3) of the Act and doubts on the evidence obtained such as the incoherent voice in the tape recorder and the use of an unreliable witness. The judge rebutted their arguments on the basis that although the above instances occurred the accused did not disprove the contents of the speech and has admitted to have made the speech as recorded. The accused was fined RM2000 in default of six months imprisonment.

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Public Prosecutor v Ooi Kee Saik and Ors (1971) The defendant, Ooi Kee Saik, vice-chairman of the DAP Penang branch and others were charged of the offence of sedition under S 4(1) (b) of the Sedition Act 1948. The defendant was found to have uttered seditious words in his speech, in which he accused the Alliance government of practising on the ethnic based policy. The other defendants, Fan Yew Teng are charged with publishing them in the Rocket and while Kok San and Lee Teck Chee were charged with printing the speech in Rocket. On the grounds that the defendant uttered seditious words challenging the special position and privilege of the Malays under Article 152 and 153/181, the judge Raja Azlan Shah found the defendant guilty for having uttered seditious words which came within the Sedition Act 1948 S 4(1), S 2 and S 3 (1). In his judgement Raja Azlan Shah rejected the argument of the lead counsel for defendants, Sir Dingle Foot for the need to follow the common law principles of sedition in England, of which the words are likely to incite violence, tumult or public disorder. Raja Azlan Shah also rejected that the intention of the speaker is essential to the offence. What the prosecution has to prove, in the judges ruling, is that the accused have actually spoken the words. In choosing a more literal interpretation of the statute instead of a more liberal interpretation, the judges reasoning took into account that the Yang di pertuan Agong during the racial riots in 1969 promulaged the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No 45 where certain sections of the Sedition Act 1948 were amended to regulate inflammatory speech. Although it has been noted by Raja Azlan Shah that the right to freedom of expression is fundamental for any democratic institution, he noted that such freedom is not an absolute right but must be within reason to maintain an effective balance. With reference to the other defendants who were charged for sedition in publishing offensive material,the judge found them guilty based on evidence of knowledge and awareness of the alleged incident. Finally,Sir Dingle Foot, counsel for the defendants argued that the amendments effected by the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 45 was not valid because it infringes on the legislative authority of the Federal Parliament and such powers could not have been envisioned as it centers to much power in one body.

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The judge disagreed explaining that the Constitution is framed to allow far reaching powers to the Yang di pertuan Agong during times of emergency. Each of the accused were fined RM2000 in default of six months imprisonment. Melan bin Abdullah & Anor. V. Public Prosecutor [1971] This is a very interesting appeal that deals with sedition. The appellants are the then-editor-inchief of the Bahasa Malaysia publication Utusan Malayu, Melan Bin Abdullah, and the author of an editorial with the subheading Abolish Tamil or Chinese medium schools in this country (referred to in the case simply as the second appellant). In the first trial, both were charged with sedition and given fines of $500 and $1,000 respectively. For the April 6, 1971 edition of Utusan Malayu, the second appellant wrote a subheading for an editorialized report of a talk given by the Member of Parliament, Musa Hitam. The title he settled on was Abolish Tamil or Chinese medium schools in this country according to the MP, this was not necessarily representative of his talk, nor was it actually a call to abolish Chinese and Tamils schools. Melan Abdullah, as editor-in-chief for the Melayu Group oversaw a total of 10 publications, with a staff of over 140, and as such never read every article of each publication every day. In November 1971, both were charged with sedition. Melan Abdullahs appeal was on the grounds that his responsibilities as editor-in-chief made it impossible to read and approve every article of each publication. Rather, he delegated authority to trusted subordinates. According to his statement, he instructed his staff on the topic of relevant laws such as the sedition act and sponsored a talk on the subject to Utusan journalists. The judge of the first sedition trial acknowledged that Melan Abdullahs limitations in this respect, but nevertheless concluded that by giving authority to his subordinates, he had given them full permission to publish the subheading thereby making his exercise of due care and caution a failure. Ong CJ, who presided over this appeal, said that with all due respect to the previous President, he would have no hesitation in finding that Melan Abdullah should not have been charged. Section 6(2) of the Sedition Act provides that no one should be charged under the Act if the accused can prove that the publication of such Seditious words happened without his authority, consent and knowledge and without any want of due care or caution on his part. Given Melan Abdullahs efforts to educate his staff on the Sedition Act and his other responsibilities as editorin-chief, Judge Ong allowed his appeal and overturned the charge against him.

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The second appellants grounds for appeal questioned the ruling that his subheading was seditious for contravening paragraph (f) of sub-section (1) of section 3 in other words, that it breached the rule prohibiting questioning the right, status position or privilege laid out in Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution. In this case, specifically the right for individuals to: use, learn and be educated in any other language. Ong CJ here put emphasis on the meaning ordinarily conveyed by the words Abolish Tamil or Chinese medium schools in this country. At the very least, he said, [the words] posed a challenge to the continued application of article 152 of the Constitution. While Inche Musa Hitam denied using these words in his talk, Ong CJ said that for the purpose of this case, the true words of the talk were irrelevant. The judge dismissed the authors appeal and said something very expressive of the current state of media freedom in Malaysia: Correct verbatim reporting, even, of a seditious utterance is no excuse for publishing the same.

Sedition Act must be repealed


Jeyaseelen Anthony 3:48PM Jun 5, 2012

The Sedition Act has reared its ugly head again. This time it has been used against Irene Fernandez and former Perak Mentri Besar, Nizar Mohamed. We have seen how the Sedition Act was used against Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer and politician, when he was charged for insulting the Sultan of Perak for saying that His Majesty should not interfere with matters concerning the state and that he can be sued for doing so. Some may wonder what sedition is all about as the word sounds very serious and terrifying. No doubt it is a serious and terrifying offence as one may be imprisoned for merely voicing out different views and opinions. Worst still one may even be branded as a criminal, not for committing crimes

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like theft and murder but by only having different views or opinions that may be interpreted as being anti- establishment by the powers that be. The prime minister has announced recently that the Sedition Act will be reviewed. This article posits that the Sedition Act 1948 should not be reviewed but repealed. The question is why? I say this because, any piece of legislation which imprisons people for holding different views and opinions is to say the least, draconic. Such a law should not be a part of any legal system. To understand why this is so, one needs to inquire into history to look at the origins of the offence of sedition. The offence itself is made in England.It is part of the common law of England. It was created to protect the British monarch and the British Empire from being criticised or vilified. The law on sedition came about during a period when kings and queens were believed to have divine powers and they were believed to be god sent and as such the laws dispensed by them were unquestionable and criticism of rulers were seen as sinful and unlawful. Today, this believe is no longer true and is seen as foolish. Therefore a law which was created with such a purpose in mind may not be suitable or relevant in present times. The common law provides that one is only deemed to have uttered or published words which are seditious if those words incite people to violence. Therefore words which do not incite others violence does not amount to sedition. Although this was the case in Britain, its colonies were visited with legislation against sedition which was more draconian. In India for example the British colonial courts through several cases decided that the common law on sedition as applied in England will not be applied in India.

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That means words which merely criticised the British colonial government in India over its unfair policies and practices amounted to sedition. That explains why prominent Indian freedom fighters and nationalist like Mahatma Gandhi, V O Chidambaram Pillai and Balgandhar Tilak were arrested charged for sedition for speaking against the British in India. Mahatma Gandhi for example was imprisoned several times after being convicted for sedition. The intention of the British was clearly to suppress and punish per se any individual who attempts to create feelings of disaffection, hatred or contempt to its rule, irrespective of the whether or not disorder follows or is likely to follow. Clearly, this was the most convenient way to successfully prosecute freedom fighters and nationalist. The crime of sedition was the most effective weapon used by the British to suppress dissent and to fulfill its colonial agenda in India. A further qualification of incitement to violence and public disorder to prove the offence of sedition would have definitely been an hindrance. The law on sedition that was applied in India is the same as ours in Malaysia. The Sedition Act 1948 was enacted by the British to suppress communist elements within the Communist Party of Malaya and its propaganda which was active in Malaya during the emergency period. The communist officially surrendered to the Malaysian government in 1989. Although communism is no longer a threat, nevertheless the Sedition Act has been used against members of the opposition, Members of Parliament, journalist and other NGO leaders pursuing campaigns that imply some criticism of the government policies and its institutions. Some of these individuals have been fined and one occasion even imprisoned under the Sedition Act. The current Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng for example, was charged and convicted for sedition and was imprisoned. The British left Malaya in 1957 however the Sedition Act never left with them. It was actually adopted into the Malaysian legal system by a constitutional amendment.

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It is unfortunate that we are still being dictated by colonial laws like the Sedition Act, which is considered obsolete in many commonwealth countries due to its history of being an instrument of oppression. The Sedition Act is a piece of legislation that can be easily abused and manipulated by the powers that be because of the uncertainty contained in its provisions. The provisions of the Act are couched with archaic and vague language in particular Section 3(1) (a) - (f) which lays down the situations where words can come within the meaning of seditious tendencies'. They are as follows: (a) bring hatred or contempt to the government or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any government. (b) to excite its subjects to procure the alteration of the government by unlawful means (c) to bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the administration of justice (d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the people (e) to promote feeling of ill-will and hostility between the different races (f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative protected by the Federal Constitution. The uncertainty of its provisions is implicit in words like "bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any government" in Section 3. The language used here is broad and vague enough to catch anything and everything particularly the tendency to question or criticise any government about their policies or actions. There seems no line drawn between legitimate criticisms and criticisms that lead to incitement to violence and disorder. It seems that any criticism aimed at any government or its institutions are capable of having seditious tendencies under the Act. Of grave concern is the fact that the Act can be used quiet easily to stifle legitimate criticisms against the government and its institutions.

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Cases have shown that this is possible. For example Dr Ooi Kee Saik a opposition politician, was charged and sentenced to pay a fine under the Sedition Act for having lamented during his speech about the domination of one particular race (the Malays) in the army, police, educational institutions and business and that these policies do not augur well with the government's policy on racial integration and he accused the government of gross partiality in favour of one race. The court found that the issues raised by Dr Ooi amounted to bringing the government into hatred or contempt, or exciting feelings of disaffection against the government. It is clear that Dr Ooi was only calling for greater racial integration between the various races in Malaysia in order to prevent racial imbalance in the institutions of government and that he was only pointing out to the government that they should do away with policies that do not promote racial integration which is a recognised objective of the government. He did not incite any members of his party or the general public to violence. In fact many government ministers today have time and again called on the government to maintain better racial balance in the various institutions of the government. It is difficult to understand how Dr Ooi's statements could be considered as seditious. The wanton use of the Sedition Act can also be seen in the prosecution of Param Cumaraswamy, a prominent lawyer and a human rights activist, who was charged for having uttered seditious words at a press conference ,where he made statements calling upon the Pardons Board to recommend to the King that the death sentence of a man charged for possession of a firearm be commuted to life imprisonment as it had done in another more serious case, where the accused a influential politician and a serving Minister was guilty discharging a firearm and committing murder. The accused also urged the Pardons Board to exercise their powers fairly and uniformly so that people would not be made to feel that the Board was discriminating between the rich and the poor in terms of severity of sentence. The prosecution alleged that the utterance of these words above by the accused have a tendency to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang Dipertuan Agong or any ruler of any state and to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any Government

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Param Cumaraswamy , was acquitted and discharged after being called to enter his defense on the grounds that the alleged seditious statements did not have the tendency to incite or to raise disaffection among the people and it did no refer to the King but only to the Pardons Board. In hindsight, Param Cumaraswamy should not have been prosecuted in the first place since it is obvious that he was only seeking reprieve for his client by calling on the Pardons Board to act according to good conscience so that it would not be seen to be discriminatory. His plea was for a good cause and as such there was nothing seditious in his plea. Even more worrying is the fact that the truth or falsity of the words uttered or written, are immaterial and will not provide a defense. Even if the words are uttered by the speaker with the most, noblest intention again this will not provide him with a defence. It is therefore an absolute liability offence where intention is irrelevant. In Public Prosecutor v Mark Koding, Justice Azmi Kamaruddin in the course of his judgment said: "..it is immaterial whether the accused intention or motive was honorable or evil when making the speech." All the judge has to do is to see whether the words are likely to create disaffection against the government, the ruler or the people. If in his honest judgment he finds it is likely to do that then the statement is seditious. The Malaysian courts have adopted the meaning of "disaffection " in the Australian case of Burns v Ransley, which means disloyalty, enmity and hostility. In other common law jurisdictions like Canada, Australia and India it has been established sedition could not be established without proof of acts that have implicit in them the idea of subverting the government by violent means and inciting others to violence and disorder. Unfortunately the trend in Malaysia gleaned from the cases decided, does not require any proof of incitement to violence or unlawful behaviour. In essence the Malaysian courts have rejected the common law requirement. It is quite clear that prosecutions under the Sedition Act are carried out to suppress dissent and its reach even extends to what is said by Members of Parliament in Parliament.

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This is rather shocking as the electorate expects the people whom they have voted into Parliament to speak on their behalf without fear or favour. The question is, how are the representatives of the people expected to perform their parliamentary duties if their mouths are gagged by the Sedition Act? This is definitely an affront to the principle of parliamentary democracy. No other parliament in the world is subjected to such a restriction. The recent incidences involving Irene Fernandez, Nizar and Karpal Singh and has indeed attracted much public attention and we have seen how the machinery of the government particularly the police have swiftly swung into action to investigate the case. However in hindsight, the alleged seditious statements uttered by Irene Fernandez, Nizar and Karpal Singh seems to be rather trivial, when compared to the statements made by certain Umno delegates at the Umno general assembly in 2007. Although there were speeches made that were racially inflammatory which would clearly come within the ambit of the Sedition Act, no action taken by the police and surprisingly no one was charged for sedition. Their inaction seems to be rather mind boggling when compared with the swiftness of the investigations done in the Irene Fernandez cases, Nizar case's and Karpal Singh's case. Again in the Permatang Pauh by elections in 2008 certain racially inflammatory statements were made against the Chinese community in Malaysia by a Umno politician but lo and behold although the police investigated him, he was never charged for sedition. Conversely, two bloggers who were perceived to be anti- establishment and one of the founders of Hindraf who only tried to raise the legitimate concerns of the Indian community, were speedily charged for sedition. The point here is that laws like the Sedition Act can be used to create a culture of fear among the people that they may prosecuted if they spoke their mind on certain issues and of course these type of laws can used at the whims and fancies of the powers that be to only prosecute those whom they feel is a threat to their existence and as shown from the examples above, the Act can be used as a tool for selective prosecution. I do not understand why is there such a hue and cry made about the Irene Fernandez and Nizar's statements made to the press about the ill-treatment of foreign workers and about the Sultan of Johor purchasing a car number plate.

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The authorities should instead investigate Irene Fernandez's claim rather than threatening her with sedition. His Majesty the Sultan of Johor has already clarified that he had purchased the number plate with his own money after being questioned by Nizar, who for all intents and purpose has a right to express his opinion that His Majesty may have made a mistake. In many countries, sedition laws have either become obsolete or have been repealed. There has not been a prosecution for sedition in Canada since the 1950s. This may be due to the fact that the Law Reform commission of Canada in 1986 had described that the offence of sedition as "an outdated and unprincipled law" and that there no longer seems to be a need for separate offence of sedition since the conduct that would be proscribed by can be dealt with as incitement, conspiracy, contempt of court or hate propaganda. In Australia, the post 9/11 era led to the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Act (No 2) 2005 which made substantial amendments to existing sedition laws by repealing several sections of the Crimes Act 1914 concerning sedition. In India, most charges of sedition are dismissed since the Indian Supreme Court has adopted the British common law where the incitement to violence and disorder must be proven in order to constitute the offence of sedition. In England, the last conviction for sedition occurred in 1909 and thereafter prosecutions have become very rare. Kenya has repealed their Sedition Act. The Sedition Act actually spells the death knell for the opposition in any Parliamentary democracy and therefore this is another justification for the repeal of the Sedition Act. Even if it is argued that that the Sedition Act is necessary to maintain public tranquility and racial harmony, there are enough provisions in the Penal Code to deal with racial strife and anarchy. People who cross the line by inciting others to overthrow the government or the monarchy through violence or to commit crimes against another community can be dealt with under the Penal Code. Sedition Act 1948 relic of its time The relevance of the Sedition Act today must be looked at along the lines of maintaining public order by punishing and deterring those who incite violence and public disorder and curbing the threat of subversion and terrorism.

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However, the main theme of the Sedition Act currently in force today clearly, does not address these concerns but it seeks only to criminalize speech or expression that is merely critical of the government and its institutions. The opposition as the elected representatives of the people and civil society groups should be allowed to criticise the administration of government and its policies since it is the legitimate expectation of the people that the government and the institutions of government are administered in accordance with the principles of transparency and accountability. As such the repeal of the Act is necessary and timely since the Malaysian Penal Code is equipped with provisions against racial incitement, subversion and curbing terrorist activities which includes inciting people to engage in terrorism against the state and other terrorist activities.

Jeyaseelen Anthony is an advocate and solicitor (non -practicing) and was also a member of the Bar Council Law Reform Committee.

Use of Sedition Act must be stopped immediately


Jeyaseelen Anthony 4:42PM Nov 7, 2012

Another person has fallen victim to the Sedition Act although the prime minister who is the head of the executive, has said that the Act is oppressive and will be repealed. Ahmad Abdul Jalil was arrested last week under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act for insulting the sultan of Johor and rearrested again on Monday. It is difficult to digest this latest arrest and the continued prosecution of Karpal Singh and P Uthayakumar, a former Hindraf leader, for sedition. Further making this worse than it is, Ahmad Abdul Jalil was arrested in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur but brought to Johor for investigations and he is being remanded there, too. I was practicing at the Criminal Bar for many years and have been involved in handling many criminal cases, I for one have not heard of such a thing happening before!

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Usually if a suspect is arrested in Kuala Lumpur, police investigation is done in Kuala Lumpur and the case will be sent to the Kuala Lumpur magistrate's court at Jalan Duta for a remand order. Why is Ahmad's case so special that the Johor police need to get involved and the remand order issued by the Johor Baru magistrate's court? Is it because it involves the sultan of Johor? There is really something amiss here and we are made to believe that Ahmad would not be brought to the palace but there is nothing stopping the sultan and his aides from going to the police station. Can the Johor police guarantee that this will not happen? Although our prime minister has said that the Sediton Act is oppressive and will be repealed but prosecutions are still being conducted against Karpal Singh and Uthayakumar. Why is this so? The attorney-general who is supposed to be the top legal adviser to the government which Najib heads, has the unfettered discretion to withdraw the charges against these two individuals but yet he has not exercised his powers. There is nothing stopping our attorney-general from withdrawing the charges against Karpal Singh and Uthayakumar or even advising the police from arresting anyone under Sedition Act as the prime minister himself has said that the Sedition Act is oppressive and up for repeal. If the attorney- general is truly independent of the executive then he must withdraw the sedition charges against Karpal Singh and Uthayakumar. Legally it may be right to arrest and prosecute people for sedition as the Act has not been repealed yet but it is morally wrong to continue to arrest and prosecute people under the Sedition Act knowing very well that the Act is slated for repeal on the grounds that it is an oppressive and an archaic law. The government including the AG has a moral responsibility to its people to make sure that persecutions' are not the order of the day. This is a moral responsibility and if it continues to persecute people by arresting and pursuing charges against them under Sedition Act than it becomes an immoral government.

JEYASEELEN ANTHONY is a consultant at the Faculty of Law, Universiti Malaya and the author of the book 'Seditious Tendencies - Political Patronisation of Freedom of Speech and Expression in Malaysia'.

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The Sedition Act (1948)


Thursday, 23 May 2013 Super Admin

The Sedition Act started life as the 1351 EnglishStatute of Treasons. Hence sedition is closely associated with treason. In the 1500s, King Henry VIII broke away from Rome and established the Church of England with him and not the Pope in Rome as the head of the church and Gods representative on earth. This was, of course, heavily opposed and criticised by the Catholics and this was when the sedition law was heavily used. Those found guilty of sedition were put to death or at the very least imprisoned with their ears cut off. NO HOLDS BARRED Raja Petra Kamarudin As I write this, thus far student activist Adam Adli has been arrested (and charged plus is now out on bail) for sedition and, today, Haris Ibrahim, Tian Chua and Tamrin Tun Ghafar (ex-Umno MP and ex-MARA Chairman) have also been picked up. I expect Hishamuddin Rais (who spent 20 years in political exile in Manchester) and Cikgu Bard (Badrul Hisham Shahrin) to be added to that list very soon plus probably a few more, Anwar Ibrahim included. Maybe we shall be seeing a repeat of the Reformasi 10 roundup that we saw in April 2001. In April 2001 the arrests were under the detention without trial Internal Security Act. This time it is under the Sedition Act, which means they will be given a trial. But why the Sedition Act and what is so special about this law? The Sedition Act started life as the 1351 English Statute of Treasons. Hence sedition is closely associated with treason. In the 1500s, King Henry VIII broke away from Rome and established the Church of England with him and not the Pope in Rome as the head of the church and Gods representative on earth. This was, of course, heavily opposed and criticised by the Catholics and this was when the sedition law was heavily used. Those found guilty of sedition were put to death or at the very least imprisoned with their ears cut off.

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When Queen Mary I took over in July 1553, she restored Roman Catholicism and had over 300 Protestant religious dissenters burned at the stake over five years in the Marian persecutions. In November 1558, Marys younger sister, Elizabeth took over as Queen Elizabeth I and she restored Protestantism and did to the Catholics what Mary did to the Protestants. Then England saw its first Civil War in 1640, a power struggle between King Charles I and Parliament. There were many reasons for this conflict but amongst the key factors was religion. Charles was viewed as Catholic-friendly (his wife and mother were both Catholics) while the majority of the Parliamentarians were Puritans who viewed Catholics as heretics and deviants. Charles I was toppled and executed in 1649 and for 11 years England was ruled as a Republic until Charles II, his son, took the throne in 1660. And thats when the sedition law was formalised as the Sedition Act (1661) -- to put down any further ideas of turning England into a Republic or of restoring Roman Catholicism. In fact, 100 years earlier, Elizabeth I had already got Parliament to pass a law that forbids a Catholic from sitting on the throne of England. Hence to even talk about it is a crime and punishable by death. And then the British came to the Malay states. In 1824, the British and Dutch exchanged Bencoolen in Sumatra with Melaka. Earlier, in 1786, the British took Penang and then Singapore in 1819. In 1941, the British lost Malaya to the Japanese, and when the Japanese surrendered at the end of World War II, the British returned to Malaya and created the Malayan Union, which was opposed by the Malays and triggered the formation of Umno. Due to this strong opposition, in 1948, the British abandoned the Malayan Union and created the Federation of Malaya or Persekutuan Tanah Melayu. Nevertheless, while the nationalist Malays (in particular those in Umno) accepted this, the more radical Malays plus the Socialists and Communists opposed it. To stifle this dissent, the British introduced the Sedition Act (1948) and those opposed to the British and to the formation of the Federation of Malaya took to the jungles to continue their opposition as an armed struggle. And that is the history of the Sedition Act. It started life as a weapon to clamp down on and punish those aligned to Rome and those who criticised the English Monarch. It was then exported to Malaya as a weapon to clamp down on and punish those who opposed the British and the Federation of Malaya. Now it is a weapon used to stifle dissent or act against those who violently oppose the results of the general election or, like in my case, those who criticise and bring hatred to the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia (now wife of the Prime Minister, of course). ************************************************** The Sedition Act (1661)

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The Sedition Act 1661 was an Act of the Parliament of England, although it was extended to Scotland only in 1708. Passed shortly after the Restoration of Charles II to the throne of England (after 11 years as a Republic), it is no longer in force (abolished on 1st January 2010), but some of its provisions continue to survive today in the Treason Act 1695 and the Treason Felony Act 1848. One clause which was included in the Treason Act 1695 was later adapted for the United States Constitution (US Sedition Act 1798 and repealed in 1920). ************************************************** The Sedition Act (1948) In 1948, the British colonial government of Malaya enacted the Sedition Act to combat the Communist insurgency. Amendments were made through an Emergency Ordinance 1971, not long after the May 13 riots of 1969, to criminalise any questioning on Part III (on citizenship), Article 152 (on national language), Article 153 (on the special positions of the Malays and the rights of other races) and Article 181 (the Rulers sovereignty) of the Federal Constitution. The Act has a very wide definition of sedition and places many limitations on freedom of expression, particularly regarding supposedly sensitive political issues -- and this legal uncertainty very much favours the prosecutor. It also means that what is seditious is not just a legal but also a political issue. A seditious tendency is defined in section 3 as follows: 1. To bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or government. 2. To seek alteration other than by lawful means of any matter by law established. 3. To bring hatred or contempt to the administration of justice in the country. 4. To raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects. 5. To promote ill will and hostility between races or classes. 6. To question the provisions of the Constitution dealing with language, citizenship, the special privileges of the Malays and of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak and the sovereignty of the Rulers. http://cijmalaysia.org/miniportal/2010/09/the-sedition-act-1948/ **************************************************

Sedition Act (1948) cannot be challenged

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(NST, 25 June 2012) - The Sedition Act 1948 is constitutional and its validity cannot be challenged. The Federal Court today ruled that the act is a good Act in dismissing an appeal by lawyer P. Uthayakumar (HINDRAF) against the decision of the Court of Appeal on Feb this year, which had rejected Uthayakumar's application to declare the Sedition Act unconstitutional. Uthayakumar, 49, a former Internal Security Act detainee, was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Dec 11, 2007, with publishing a seditious letter on the "Police Watch Malaysia" website, dated Nov 15, 2007, addressed to then prime minister of Britain Gordon Brown. He made the declaratory application (to declare the Sedition Act unconstitutional), in a bid to have the charge against him under the act to be revoked.

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