Many in Malaysia woke up to the news that Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor was detained by the police in the wee hours of the morning.
Over 20 enforcement personnel reportedly detained Sanusi at 3am.
The excessive number of enforcement personnel was unnecessary and a throwback to the high-handed way detentions in the past were made, especially under the now repealed Internal Security Act.
Sanusi was arrested under Section 4(1)(A) of the Sedition Act. He faces two charges.
In the first charge, he is accused of uttering a seditious statement that could incite disloyalty to the rulers.
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The second charge was related to a speech of his that questioned Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s statement on a royal decree and the establishment of the “unity government” after last November’s inconclusive general election.
As much as Aliran disagrees with Sanusi’s divisive language and politics and his harping on race and religion, we are opposed to the use of the Sedition Act.
We echo the stand taken by Lawyers for Liberty and prominent ex-Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan that it is totally unacceptable for the authorities to charge Sanusi under the Sedition Act.
Aliran reiterates civil society’s call for the oppressive Sedition Act to be repealed. This is a demand we expected the unity government to fulfil if it is to live up to its claim to be reformist.
If Sanusi has broken any laws, charge him by applying other relevant specific laws. There are plenty on the statute books.
We urge the government to live up to its reform promises and ensure that the diabolical Sedition Act is abolished at the next sitting of Parliament.
Aliran executive committee
18 July 2023