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PH lawmakers must stop calls to use Sedition Act

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Hakam notes with grave concern the recent call for the authorities to investigate former Inspector General of Police Mohammed Hanif Omar under the Sedition Act in relation to an allegation that Lim Kit Siang had pushed for the division of peninsula Malaysia into two after the 1969 race riots.

This is inconsistent with civil society’s longstanding position that this archaic act must be repealed in its entirety. The Sedition Act is arbitrary, anti-democratic and has been abused by the previous administration on many occasions.

Further, there are sufficient existing laws and measures to ensure that the fundamental constitutional rights of all citizens are scrupulously protected. Lim himself is pursuing a civil remedy through defamation action against the former police chief.

This recent call also clearly violates Pakatan Harapan’s own manifesto to revoke the Sedition Act, which was a critical tool of British colonial authorities to deal with freedom fighters like Ahmad Boestamam and India’s Mahatma Gandhi.

Pertinently, it is also inconsistent with the previous appeals to courts by the same lawmakers to adjourn sedition cases pending the a review by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the prospect of abolishing the Sedition Act in Parliament. It is thus only right that Pakatan Harapan lawmakers keep true to their words, at all times.

Hakam reiterates its call for the urgent repeal of the Sedition Act and for a moratorium on all cases pending its repeal in Parliament.

Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar is president of Hakam. He released this statement on behalf of the Hakam executive committee.

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