PETALING JAYA: The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) described the police probe into lawyer and activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri as an example of the blatant disregard to the spirit of reforms espoused by the current Pakatan Harapan government.
It noted that the lawyer had been called for investigation by the police under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 & Section 233 of the Communications & 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 1948, and Section 233 of the Communications & Multimedia Act 1998.
“These oppressive laws are arbitrary in nature.
“They chillingly restrict our freedom of expression and have no place in a democracy such as Malaysia,” Hakam secretary-general Lim Wei Jiet said in a statement on behalf of the Hakam executive committee.
Hakam reminded the authorities of Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto for the 14th general election, notably Promise No 27, which clearly outlined the current government’s pledge to revoke the Sedition Act 1948 and to abolish “draconian” provisions in the Communications & Multimedia Act 1998.
The NGO said several ministers had publicly expressed their views that the government would 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,” Lim said.
He urged the government and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to impose a moratorium on any use of the Sedition Act 1948 & Section 233 of the Communications & Multimedia Act 1998 – as well as other oppressive laws – until they have been repealed by Parliament as promised.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 system of checks and balances, accountability and rule of law have suffered greatly as a result.
“Let us not repeat such mistakes,” Lim added.
Fadiah is being investigated over an article which allegedly questioned the monarchy in Malaysia.
She gave her statement to the police today after reports were lodged against her.
The Pakatan Harapan activist allegedly questioned the existence of the monarchy, saying it was outdated and that it could no longer be accepted or defended.
Fadiah also questioned the action of the authorities in calling her in for questioning despite saying the country practised democracy.
“They say it’s a democracy but the authorities cannot accept criticism and have taken away my right to speak up.
“I’m not trying to be a hero, but I want us to be together. I am not alone because I have friends. If we don’t speak up now, then when will we?” she had asked.