KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 ― While Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz conceded that the Sedition Act 1948 has been abused, he insisted the colonial-era law should be kept and only needed amendments to keep up with the times.

The Umno lawmaker claimed the law introduced by the colonial British government is needed to guarantee unity in Malaysia.

“We may be worried, and say that the Act should not be kept as it has been abused,” he said while debating the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat.

He added that the fault lay not with the legislation but with the leaders in power who “wrongly applied” the law.

“But if the cause of the abuse lies with a leader, it is the leader that should be burnt, not the Act,” he said.

Nazri who was a former minister in charge of law, noted that the law was enacted 72 years ago and acknowledged that it needed updating.

“So since we have advanced to 2020, an amendment should be made to adapt to current times,” he said.

Critics of the Sedition Act have condemned it as draconian and a tool to quell dissent against the government.

The previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration had promised to repeal the Sedition Act as part of its 2018 general election manifesto and replace it with a new law.

In January 2019, the then de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the Bill for the abolition of the Act would be tabled in Parliament.