Support for law to stop hate speech

The government is mulling a law to criminalise hate speech to protect racial harmony. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Two members of the defunct National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) said it is timely to revive proposals made by the group four years ago to promote unity and curb racial and religious insults.

Senior lawyer Lim Chee Wee and social activist Anas Zubedy said they were supportive of the proposal by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa, to table a bill that would criminalise hate speech towards race and religion.

“I fully support his (Mujahid) efforts in reviving the NUCC proposals which the previous administration did not have the will nor resolve to implement,” Lim told FMT.

Anas said NUCC’s proposals were not only on laws to punish people for making hate speeches, but had also focused on educating people about unity and harmony.

“Not everything has to go to court,” he said, adding it had proposed 14 recommendations to the previous government.

“The previous government kept silent after the proposals were submitted to them,” he said.

Yesterday, Mujahid told the Dewan Rakyat that the government planned to table a law to stop racial and religious insults soon.

But lawyer Syahredzan Johan said he was sceptical about the proposal, adding Malaysia cannot have two or more laws that criminalised “insults”.

“Repeal the Sedition Act first,” said the lawyer who is now an aide to DAP leader Lim Kit Siang. “We cannot be having too many laws and be using them for the same situations.”

Another lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali said whatever laws the government planned to introduce should be taken into account the position of Islam.

“The relevant law must contain equal rights for everyone and be formulated with Islam as the backbone,” he said, adding that country’s constitution had placed Islam as the religion of the federation.

NUCC, formed after the 13th general election, had drafted three bills in 2014, to replace the Sedition Act.

Mujahid was one of the members of the drafting committee, together with Lim and Anas.