Putrajaya says ‘no’ to lese majeste laws

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the PH administration has not discussed the need for such laws as practiced in neighbouring Thailand. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the PH administration has not discussed the need for such laws as practiced in neighbouring Thailand. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — The federal government said today it has no plans to introduce lèse majesté laws to curb insults against Malay rulers and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on social media, saying existing laws are sufficient.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration has not discussed the need for such laws as practised in neighbouring Thailand.

“We think that is not suitable to introduce lèse majesté for now but we will study the provisions under the Sedition Act further.

“There is also suggestions for such laws to be included under the Penal Code but the matter will be brought up to the Cabinet meeting later to decide whether it is sensible to amend or strengthen the law,” he told Dewan Rakyat during Question Time here.

He was responding to Ramli Mohd Nor (BN-Cameron Highlands) who asked the ministry on the actions taken by the authorities against those who insult or vilify the monarchy.

Muhyiddin pointed out that the police have investigated a total of 97 cases involving social media users allegedly insulting Malay rulers and the Agong in the last seven years.

Out of the 97, 11 of the cases were charged in court after investigations papers were opened under either the Sedition Act 1948, Penal Code, or the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

The government has also taken steps to educate the public about the need for sensitivity when making remarks touching on religion, race, and the royalty, he added.

“Monitoring and investigative units were also established at the contingent and district level to curb social media abuse.

“To ensure national security and public harmony is always preserved, the ministry will not compromise on any forms of threats perpetrated by any parties seeking to disrupt peace enjoyed by the people,” he said.

Responding to a supplementary question from Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) about steps the government has taken on those accusing the administration of being anti-Islam and anti-Malay, Muhyiddin said the government will monitor and act on extreme allegations if they might threaten the peace.

“Strict actions will be taken against parties attempting to create chaos and provocation in any form be it verbal, written or dissemination,” he said.

Related Articles