Sedition Act must be repealed, as promised — Charles Santiago

JULY 14 — This is disappointing, even to me. We need not believe in or subscribe to the contents of Fadiah Nadwa Fikri’s recent article. But we can’t haul her under the Sedition Act just because her writing offended us.

Such a reaction to an intellectual discourse, a radical view or eloquently penned thought belonged in the era of the Barisan Nasional. Or so we thought.

Fadiah wrote about her thoughts on the picture of prime minister-in waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, bending down and kissing the hand of the Sultan of Johor. 

Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto clearly spells that it would repeal some of the oppressive laws that give too much power to the government, including the Sedition Act.

And before its shocking victory at the polls, we had also promised not to target people who express their views peacefully, such as Fadiah.

Clearly, we have gone back on our promise despite the fact that the new government was elected on its reform platform.

The Sedition Act was enacted during the Communist era and has reached the end of its shelf life.

It’s archaic and contains provisions that make it illegal to criticise the monarchy, Agong, the government, the justice system or some aspects of the Federal Constitution.

But this is not acceptable as the law cannot be used to curb anyone’s freedom of speech.

Malaysians, fed-up with Barisan Nasional’s use of draconian laws to stay in power, booted out a regime that has ruled for 61 years.

And they are watching us closely to see if we keep our word.

Pakatan Harapan must therefore repeal the Sedition Act as a way of showing that it will walk the talk and the election manifesto wasn’t just a ploy to win votes.

* Charles Santiago is the Member of Parliament for Klang.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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