PETALING JAYA: Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman has clarified his views on the arrest of an Umno leader’s brother under the Sedition Act, explaining that police had based their actions on an existing law.
Azis also said he was against the act, which Pakatan Harapan had promised to abolish prior to the May 9 polls.
“I myself was shocked (when he was detained for sedition). I asked the inspector-general of police as to why the act was used. There are other laws we could have used,” he told FMT, referring to the arrest of Azman Noor Adam.
Azman is the younger brother of Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam.
Earlier this evening, Lawyers for Liberty’s N Surendran slammed Azis for defending the use of the Sedition Act.
In a tweet, Surendran said that the Warisan MP was not fit to be a deputy minister.
“What nonsense to talk about police SOP,” he said, referring to standard operating procedures.
The former Padang Serai MP said Azis should get a copy of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and read it.
This came after Azis was reported to have said that the controversial act would continue to be used until it is amended or repealed.
Azis said police were merely following the SOP when they arrested Azman as a report was lodged that he had allegedly uploaded a picture that insulted Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on social media.
DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh said Azis’ statement on the Sedition Act reflected a lack of political will on Putrajaya’s part in carrying out one of its most important election promises, namely the repeal of such draconian laws.
Ramkarpal, who is also the party’s legal bureau chairman, said that the home ministry should have announced that government resources would not be wasted on offences which are likely to become obsolete in the near future.
But Azis clarified that the reality of it is that the act is still valid.
“They need to understand that I was merely stating a fact. I never said I agreed to it being used.”
Meanwhile, former Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong said it was unfair for Surendran to say that Azis was unfit to be a deputy minister because Pakatan had promised to repeal the act.
The manifesto, he said, was not the law, adding that until and unless the Sedition Act is repealed, police are entitled to take action under it.
Therefore, Wee said, Surendran was the one talking “nonsense”.
“The deputy minister’s explanation was most correct from the government’s point of view.
“It may be politically incorrect for NGOs but it does not mean that a person is unfit for office when the statement is not in tandem with the NGO,” he told FMT, referring to the LFL.
He also added that it should continue campaigning for the act to be repealed.