Govt mulling new law to replace Sedition Act, says PM

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Putrajaya is looking to repeal the controversial Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with a new law, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The prime minister said a decision will be made soonest possible.

“We are in the midst of structuring the new law and it will be concluded as soon as possible,” he told a news conference at Parliament.

The Pakatan Harapan government has been under fire for the delay in repealing the archaic law that was recently used to convict and punish Islamic preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussain from PKR over remarks made against the sultan of Selangor seven years ago.

It was the ruling coalition’s GE14 promise.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said the government needs to study the suitability of repealing the Sedition Act, after the prime minister was questioned over its delay.

He conceded that his Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had delayed initiatives to repeal the controversial law after promising to do so if it won the general election last year.

Wan Ji, who was found guilty of making seditious remarks against the sultan of Selangor seven years ago, lost his conviction appeal at the High Court in Shah Alam, Selangor on Tuesday,

High Court judge Abdul Halim Aman even raised the preacher’s sentence from nine months to 12.

Social activists and lawmakers, including those within PH, have openly called the government to speed up repealing the British colonial-era law.