KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional (BN) government was not only authoritarian but autocratic as well with the reinstatement of the Sedition Act 1948, charged Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto in a statement.
“In the spirit of Merdeka, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should prove the BN administration was not autocratic and authoritarian.”
“He should do away with the Sedition Act.”
She called upon the Prime Minister to end repression of political dissent by dropping all sedition charges.
“This should be done in the true spirit of nationalism, patriotism and constitutionalism.”
She was commenting on Najib addressing the Youth Parliament in the Dewan Rakyat this week. The Prime Minister dismissed allegations the government was autocratic, noted the MP.
“He said that it was open to criticism.”
“He mentioned that those who want to provide feedback should do it in a proper manner and that street rallies and ‘referendum rakyat’ weren’t our cup of tea.”
In fact, in a paradoxical twist, it’s actually the BN administration and Najib who have violated the Federal Constitution, said Kasthuri. “The Federal Constitution is about fundamental liberties and freedom of speech.”
“It’s not about using brute force, by law, to curtail freedom of speech and abuse human rights.”
Najib announced in 2011 that the archaic Sedition Act would be repealed. Sadly, she recalled, “our joy was short lived.”
In 2014, three years after the grand announcement, the Prime Minister “shamelessly” backtracked and said the Sedition Act will in fact be strengthened, stripping away fundamental liberties, she lamented.
Kasthuri put forward five pre-requisites for a nation to be respected.
Firstly, it upholds fundamental liberties and civil liberties and defends human rights.
Secondly, leaders do not abuse power, siphon public funds and they govern with accountability and transparency.
Thirdly, there’s no corrosion in the sanctity of the judiciary, the MACC, and the Election Commission.
Fourthly, it stands by the right to life.
Finally, laws that silence the conscience and dissent, laws that blind the authorities against inhuman treatment of people, and laws that discriminate, oppress and suppress people, tyrannical laws that protect political criminals and those that restrict freedom of speech, are abolished.
In October 2014, four UN independent experts, including the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, called on Malaysia to withdraw the Sedition Act. They warned that it was incompatible with international law on human rights.