112 NGOs band together to fight Sedition Act

5 September 2014

A movement dubbed “Abolish the Sedition Act” (GHAH) was launched today in response to the use of the draconian law as a means of political repression and terror.

A total of 112 civil society organisations are part of this movement, which said it wants to bury the colonial-era law if Malaysia is to be a truly independent nation.

“The Sedition Act is clearly being misused to protect the government and its interests, clamp down on the opposition and dissidents, make certain issues off limits, stifle civil liberties and create a climate of fear reminiscent of the worst days under the iron-fisted Mahathir regime,” said Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen at a press conference today.

He said the movement was concerned with the selective prosecution under the act, adding that the Attorney-General was targeting government critics.
“Over the past month, the act has been indiscriminately used in a new wave of political repression and terror and whose targets have included elected representatives and lawyers who have a public duty to speak on matters of public interest,” Paulsen said.

The movement’s demands include the repeal of the act and for existing sedition charges to be dropped.

Paulsen also said the act was being used to strike fear in the media, as seen from the arrest of Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone for investigations over an allegedly seditious article.

“They’re trying to create a climate of fear, but don’t worry, carry on with your job and if you get into trouble, Lawyers for Liberty will be behind you.”

When asked if GHAH would organise demonstrations, Paulsen said that it was the right of Malaysians under Article 10 of the Constitution to assemble and march peacefully.

“After the case of Nik Nazmi in the Court of Appeal, no Malaysian should be afraid to demonstrate peacefully.”

(He was referring to Selangor Deputy Speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, who was charged with failure to give a 10-day notice to police for the Black Out Rally last year.)

“So certainly it is part of what we will be doing, but it is something we should not ponder upon because it is within our rights,” he said.

Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng said the movement would support the upcoming protest in Universiti Malaya on September 10 in support of law lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Sharom, who was charged with sedition earlier this week.

Activist Hishamuddin Rais, who was also charged with sedition, said that the political situation was such now that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was using the Sedition Act to counter accusations by former prime minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad that he was a weak leader.

“This is the background of the situation we are in, Najib is trying to prove to Dr Mahathir that he is not weak and so we are the victims.

“But the bigger issue is that the Sedition Act means that we cannot speak or think,” Hishamuddin said.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said that the increasing use of the Sedition Act was fostering a climate of repression. The views of opposition politicians and other critical voices, as well as of ordinary individuals simply expressing their opinions, were being suppressed.

In calling for the act to be abolished, she also called on the Malaysian authorities to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and to incorporate its provisions in domestic law, policy and practice.

GHAH will be launched on September 15 and will go on a nationwide roadshow.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Friday, 5 September 2014 - 7:38 pm

    The law of diminishing returns begins to set in to swallow up Umno/BN’s initial gain of using the Sedition Act to clamp down the opposition and individuals.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Friday, 5 September 2014 - 9:12 pm

    You are all getting it wrong. Najib is using this and the Selangor MB crises to get PAS to break up with PR and even split up so that it will start some unity plan with UMNO.

  3. #3 by winstony on Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 10:05 am

    Make very certain that this repressive law isn’t replaced by another one that is equally repressive or even worse!!!

  4. #4 by winstony on Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 10:20 am

    Malaysians have a rather strange trait.
    They like to live on promises.
    Whether those promises materialise or not doesn’t seem to bother them!

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 11:12 am

    Some rakyat can make noise here n there
    D fact is, JUST NOISE, syiok diri only 1
    Another FACT is most rakyat (rural + urban folks, Bumi + non-Bumi) r contented with d Sedition Act
    They r happy with it n feel secured with dis Act

    Aiyah, DAP better spend more time sorting out PR odd couples n enemies under d same blanket situation

    Well, dis appointing a new MB saga or comedy should OPEN rakyat eyes – R we in a truly DEMOCRATIC society? D voters had decided. However, is d outcome of an MB appointment through a democratic process?

    So much behind d scene manipulations going around in appointing an MB. Looks like at dis 21st Century, d appointment is still conditioned on a person, even though a democratically agreed candidate has been proposed. No wonder, some believed dat even a monkey or a donkey can b made an MB. Is it TRUE?

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 11:16 am

    Of cos now, d spectre of d SEDITION ACT is like a hanging sword above rakyat heads, esp those not in UmnoB/BN’s favour

  7. #7 by Justice Ipsofacto on Saturday, 6 September 2014 - 12:57 pm

    What about the unwritten but well known law that (1) umno is the GOD of all gods and (2) the supreme grand master of the entire universe?

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Sunday, 7 September 2014 - 10:45 am

    Ai say man, PR got a fren like PAS president, who needs enemies lar

    REALITY cek: Rakyat fed up with both UmnoB/BN n PR, let dis 1DERful land rot

    Now an ex-CJ vomited poison 2 openly insult non-Malays who contributed (many with their lives) 2 d creation of Malaya n Malaysia, WTF, NOT seditious meh

    Genuine Sabahans n Sarawakians who joined Malayans on par 2 create Malaysia on 16.9.1963: What say U? U NO fight 4 Malaysia’s independence meh?

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