Gobind: Sedition Act, Poca, Pota, Sosma will only be used when public order is under threat

Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo speaks at the National Cyber-security Strategy Development conference in Kuala Lumpur December 3, 2018. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo speaks at the National Cyber-security Strategy Development conference in Kuala Lumpur December 3, 2018. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government chose to lift a freeze on several controversial security laws because there is concern over the threat to national security, public order and race relations, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said today.

He sought to assure the public that the government will only use these laws in exceptional cases, after Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced last Friday that the Cabinet has decided to withdraw the moratorium on the Prevention of Crime Act (Amendment) 2017 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota), Sedition Act 1948 and Security Offences Special Measures Act (Sosma) following the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple riot in Subang last week.

“The Cabinet on Friday has agreed to lift the moratorium on certain acts such as the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act to deal with three situations where it involves national security, public order and race relations.

“It is a decision that has already been made,” Gobind said during a press conference at the National Cyber-security Strategy Development Conference at the JW Marriot hotel here.

He emphasised that the security laws will only be used in these circumstances, adding that amendments to those relevant Acts will be announced once the government has come up with a new framework.

Gobind said the Cabinet has also considered just using current provisions under the Penal Code to deal with such cases that threaten public order, but added that there were some who viewed them as insufficient.

“That is one view that there is enough provisions under the Penal Code but there are other views as well and that other view is that there is a need for further provisions.

“So the Cabinet has taken into consideration on all of this. The decision has been made in considerations of these three area of concerns,” he said referring to national security, public order and race relations.

Gobind said the government will likely introduced a new cyber security policy by early next year as means to deal with threats to the domestic digital sphere.

He also assures Malaysian internet users that his ministry is working to address online bullying with relevant ministries and agencies.

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