Pakatan promised to get rid of Sedition Act, Amnesty says amid probe against Nazri

Shamini Darshin speaks during a press conference at Suaram’s office in Petaling Jaya December 19, 2018.  ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Shamini Darshin speaks during a press conference at Suaram’s office in Petaling Jaya December 19, 2018. ― Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Amnesty International today denounced the sedition investigation against Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, and cautioned authorities on the “excessively broad and vague” restrictions imposed on one’s freedom of speech.

Its executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu also reminded the Pakatan Harapan government of their pledge to abolish laws like these during GE14.

She pointed out that the previous Barisan Nasional government had often used a wide range of criminal laws, including the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012, and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 to target human rights activist as well as government critics.

“These laws have historically been used to stifle dissent, particularly given the laws’ broad scope, vague definitions of offences, and harsh penalties. The Pakatan Harapan promised to abolish these laws in their election manifesto,” Shamini said in a statement.

“We denounce the decision by the police to investigate Nazri Aziz under the Sedition Act 1948. The use of the Sedition Act affirms a continuing trend in which the authorities are using this law despite its wide and arbitrary provisions. The Sedition Act does not comply with international human rights law and standards.

“Further, the restrictions on the right to freedom of expression imposed in Malaysia’s Sedition Act are phrased in an excessively broad and vague manner, potentially resulting in both an overreach of the law and potential for abusive application of the law,” Shamini said, also reiterating the organisation’s repeated calls to abolish the Sedition Act.

Earlier today, police confirmed that Nazri is being are investigated for alleged offences under the Sedition Act.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohd Fuzi Harun confirmed this after attending the Federal Reserve Unit’s 63rd anniversary celebrations in Cheras here today, according to the Malaysiakini news portal.

“We are investigating him under the Sedition Act 1948 and we will complete our investigation papers as soon as possible,” he was quoted as saying.

“When they are complete, we will hand them to the deputy public prosecutor for further action or instructions.”

Yesterday, Nazri confirmed he was questioned by the police over remarks he made while on the campaign trail for the Semenyih by-election last week.

Among others, Nazri claimed the appointment of non-Muslims as the attorney general (AG), chief justice and finance minister was causing fear among the Malay community.

He also said non-Malays should not question Malay privileges as the former also enjoy special privileges such as vernacular schools.

Nazri yesterday defended his statement and said a non-Bumiputera AG could lead to bias in cases such as that involving deceased fireman Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

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