Hakam notes that lawyer and activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri was called for investigation by the police under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for publishing an article online in respect of the monarchy.
Hakam heavily condemns the authorities’ continued reliance and enforcement of repressive laws such as the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications & Multimedia Act. These oppressive laws are arbitrary in nature, chillingly restrict our freedom of expression, and have no place in a democracy such as Malaysia.
Hakam would like to remind the authorities of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto for the 2018 general election, notably Promise number 27, which clearly outlines the current government’s pledge to revoke the Sedition Act and to abolish draconian provisions in the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Several ministers have even publicly said the government will move to repeal these oppressive laws when Parliament is convened.
It is therefore appalling that the authorities today continue to rely on such oppressive laws to investigate and police the lives of ordinary Malaysians. This is a blatant disregard of the spirit of reform espoused by the current PH government.
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Hakam therefore urges the government and the Attorney General’s Chambers to impose a moratorium on any use of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act – as well as other oppressive laws – until they have been repealed by Parliament, as promised.
The freedom of expression is a cherished constitutional right and the building block of every democracy. Any issue, however controversial and sacred, must be open to discussion and criticism.
Malaysians have long been shackled by fear and retaliation in the past for merely speaking their minds – and our systems of check and balance, accountability & rule of law have suffered greatly as a result. Let us not repeat such mistakes.
Lim Wei Jiet is secretary-general of Hakam. This statement was issued on on behalf of the Hakam executive committee.