No timeline to repeal Sedition Act, says Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya has yet to determine a timeline for the repeal of the controversial Sedition Act 1948 which Pakatan Harapan (PH) vowed to abolish in its election manifesto.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this was because the government might not be able to keep to the fixed time frame.

“The Sedition Act is still there (but) to repeal the law takes time. It has to go through Parliament, so in the meantime they (the police) still continue to apply the law,” he told reporters at Bank Negara Malaysia after the launch of a book on Ismail Mohamed Ali, the first Malaysian governor of the central bank.

“I don’t want to bother about this,” he added. “Anyone wants to call me any name, they are welcome.”

The PH-led government has come under fire from activists as well as members of its own coalition over the colonial-era law.

Most recently, Azman Noor Adam, the brother of Umno Supreme Council member Lokman Noor Adam, was detained by the police under the law over a social media post deemed insulting to Mahathir.

Speaking today, Mahathir said there were a number of laws to repeal and amend, and that this would take time as the attorney-general would have to go through the new laws.

“Also, some of the laws involve amending the constitution,” he said. “We need a two-thirds majority and we don’t have that.”

On the possibility of a forum with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Mahathir said he had yet to decide on a topic.

“I normally don’t decide on the topic until I’m there. I will go there tonight,” he added, referring to his visit to Port Dickson to campaign for PKR candidate Anwar Ibrahim.

At a ceramah in Port Dickson yesterday, Hadi said he would formally invite Mahathir for a forum on any topic of his choice, given the 93-year-old’s seniority.

On former prime minister Najib Razak and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s call for high-profile murder cases to be reopened for investigation by a special team, Mahathir said: “I haven’t been told about this, I have to see what’s behind all this.”