KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Lawyers for Liberty today urge Bukit Aman to discontinue the probe upon Kuala Langat MP, Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar under the Sedition Act and Section 233 (1) of the Communication and Multimedia Act (CMA) over his remark relating to the recent Parliament sitting.
Its legal coordinator Zaid Malek said that both laws should not have been wielded by the authorities.
“They are oppressive legislation and are harmful to the right to free speech,” he said in a statement today.
Zaid added that the Sedition Act is a notorious pre-independence legislation, which has long been criticised by the Bar Council and human rights bodies.
He also pointed out that the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had promised in its election manifesto to repeal the Sedition Act and amend the CMA due to the troubling nature of the laws.
“However, despite holding federal power between May 2018 and February 2020, the former PH government took no steps to repeal or amend both these laws, contrary to the promise in their Buku Harapan.
“As a result, these laws continue to be available to be used against alleged wrongdoers. Both Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233(1) of the CMA are drafted in wide terms, leading to ambiguity as to what is or is not an offence under these laws. This has a chilling effect on free speech,” he said.
While noting that the new Perikatan Nasional government is not bound by any manifesto, Zaid still urged the government to seriously consider the repeal of the Sedition Act and the amendment of the CMA.
“We also urge the new government to place a moratorium upon all investigations under the Sedition Act and Section 233(1) of the CMA pending repeal or amendment,” he added.