KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — The colonial-era Sedition Act 1948 should no longer be used to prosecute anyone in Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) and the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) said today following the charging of PAS politician Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor.

To the human rights group, the government’s use of the “notorious Sedition Act” against a political opponent is a black mark as the law should have been cast into the “trash-heap” of the country’s colonial past.

“It is appalling that this has happened under a government led by Pakatan Harapan, which in opposition long condemned the existence and usage of Sedition Act as oppressive and an affront to freedom of speech,” LFL said in a statement.

It noted that in past election campaigns, PH had promised to repeal this law and was betraying public expectations by using it when it is the government.

LFL said most Commonwealth countries have already scrapped, adding that the broadly-worded provisions of the Sedition Act makes the rights to free speech illusory.

“The PM and other Pakatan Harapan Ministers and MPs know this full well, which is why it has always been part of their campaign promise to repeal this law,” it said.

LFL said no legitimate government should be allowed to wield the powers given by the Sedition Act.

“Therefore, we urge the government to immediately suspend the operation of the Sedition Act pending repeal at the next session of parliament. We further urge the AG to withdraw the sedition charge against Sanusi.

“The Sedition Act should no longer be part of our criminal justice system; it should be consigned to the trash-heap of our colonial past,” LFL said.

In a separate statement, Muda secretary-general Amir Hariri Abd Hadi objected to the use of the Sedition Act.

“I am firmly of the view that the Sedition Act should not be used, what more on political foes. We have other laws,” he tweeted this morning after Sanusi was charged.

Amir was formerly a coordinator for Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan, a movement seeking for the Sedition Act to be abolished.

Sanusi, who is Perikatan Nasional elections director, was charged with two counts of sedition at the Sessions Court for remarks that were allegedly linked to the Selangor sultan and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He pled not guilty and was granted bail.