Minister: Man who insulted PM shouldn’t be charged, Sedition Act undergoing repeal

Dr Mahathir had yesterday said the police must stop arresting people who insult him as 'politicians must accept criticism'. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Dr Mahathir had yesterday said the police must stop arresting people who insult him as 'politicians must accept criticism'. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 5 — Umno man Datuk Lokman Noor Adam’s brother should not be charged with sedition for insulting the prime minister as the Sedition Act is currently undergoing the repeal process, de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today.

Liew urged the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) not to prosecute Azman Noor Adam as Dr Mahathir was not offended by any remarks made against him.

“It reflects how magnanimous our Prime Minister is,” he said in a statement today.

Liew pointed out that government leaders can be criticised, as long as the criticism does not amount to defamation.

“As leaders of the country and government ministers, we’re subject to ridicules and criticisms by members of the public.

“The only caution is that any statement made against a political leader must not be defamatory as the law provides for recourse for legal action to be taken against the defamer,” he added.

Azman was arrested on October 2 and remanded under the Sedition Act for allegedly sharing online a photo that was seen as an insult towards Dr Mahathir.

But Dr Mahathir had yesterday said the police must stop arresting people who insult him as “politicians must accept criticism”, adding that he doesn’t mind being insulted by anyone as it does not affect him.

As for the Sedition Act, Liew said the process of repealing the colonial-era law was currently at the committee stage of the relevant ministries, and that a Cabinet paper will be submitted soon to the Cabinet for consideration.

“There are provisions in the existing Act that safeguard the Ruler of the Country, namely the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, from all forms of seditious attacks.

“As our Constitutional Monarch, we must respect and remain loyal to our King as enshrined in our Rukun Negara,” he said.

Pakatan Harapan had promised in its 14th election manifesto that it would abolish “oppressive laws” if voted into power, specifically mentioning the Sedition Act 1948, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, National Security Council Act 2016 and the mandatory death penalty in all Acts.

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