Fate of Sedition Act hinges on Home Ministry’s views, says minister

Liew said he will seek the Home Ministry’s views on the Sedition Act in an upcoming meeting. — Picture by Yusof Mat isa
Liew said he will seek the Home Ministry’s views on the Sedition Act in an upcoming meeting. — Picture by Yusof Mat isa

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 — How the government treats the Sedition Act will depend on the Home Ministry’s position as enforcement comes under its purview, Datuk Liew Vui Keong said today.

The minister in the Prime Minister’ Department said he will seek the Home Ministry’s views on the Sedition Act in an upcoming meeting.

“So they have a committee to look into this particular Act, I have been informed we will be having a meeting at the end of this month.

“I will get their view and suggestions on this particular Act - if they want to repeal and amend or how to go about it.

“Because you must understand, some of these laws are owned by the respective ministries, so I cannot just take over and say I want to do this, I want to do that,” he told reporters here.

“The ministry has to come up with a policy as to what they want to do. I think they already have that,” he said, adding that the matter would have to wait until the meeting.

When asked about the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012, Liew similarly said it was under the purview of the Home Ministry.

“The minister has already given a policy direction, but we have to look into certain issues relevant to the present needs of the society here in Malaysia.

“We have to ensure that our security is always at the top priority, so we cannot compromise, that is for sure.

“Sosma deals with the security of the nation as well, we have to ensure that cannot be compromised, so we have to come up with a win-win situation for both,” he said.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition had in its manifesto for the 14th general election promised to abolish “cruel” laws such as the Sedition Act and to scrap certain “cruel” provisions in laws such as Sosma.

On December 30, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will retain Sosma ― which allows preventive detention ― as it was necessary for national security.

When asked regarding the status of plans to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), Liew said it is pending the implementation of the law for its formation.

He noted that the police force had given its suggestions over concerns of potential conflict with constitutional provisions regarding the police, indicating however that he believed these are separate issues.

“But then, when it comes to that, I'm of the view that the IPCMC is dealing with the complaints against the police, whereas Constitution is dealing with promotion, duties of the respective police personnel, so these are two different things,” he said.

Last November 13, Liew had told Parliament that the Bill for IPCMC's formation would be tabled in Parliament in March 2019.

Liew today told reporters that he would be meeting all the legal heads and secretary-generals of the respective ministries to look into the laws to be repealed or amended this year.

He said 2019 will see Parliament being “very active in dealing with the various laws that will be introduced by the various ministries in line with the aspirations of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto”.