Final decision on Sedition Act after I meet Muhyiddin, says law minister

De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong (centre) speaking to Federal Court chief registrar Latifah Mohd Tahar (right) at the Penang Court Complex in George Town today. On his left is Penang High Court judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail.

GEORGE TOWN: De facto law minister Liew Vui Keong today said a “final decision” will be made soon concerning the use of the Sedition Act 1948, after Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said it was okay to use the Act in serious cases.

Muhyiddin’s remark seemed to contradict what was said by Liew yesterday when the latter advised the police not to use the controversial Act. Pakatan Harapan had promised to repeal it but its leaders are still dithering.

“I will meet Muhyiddin to make a final decision on this. I feel we must discuss on the direction we should take in either amending or repealing the act. We will come up with a final decision on it.

“We will have a Cabinet meeting on Friday and I will discuss with him then,” Liew said during his visit to the Penang High Court Complex here today.

Later, he said the government’s decision to repeal the Act remained. When asked if his previous advice to police to not use the Act stood, he did not answer, saying: “As of now, since the government aspires to repeal the Act, I will discuss with Muhyiddin to have a final decision on the matter…it is a work in progress.”

On a different note, Liew said corruption cases which had not reached the trial stage or were at preliminary stages could be transferred to the proposed special corruption court.

“If the case is at the hearing or appeal stage on some procedural matters, these cases may be referred to the new court. So long as it has not gone to trial, the case proper can be transferred to the new court if the court is ready by then,” he said.

Liew said there was no timeframe to set up the new court, but hoped it could be expedited. He said the court would be established in each state.

He said the purpose of the corruption court was to have certain judges throughout the country focusing on corruption-related cases.

Liew said many were of the opinion that the courts were too busy, handling many cases at once. Therefore, the new court will help lighten the load.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the government would set up a special court for corruption cases.

He had said the government hoped to set it up as soon as possible as people were asking how was it that some individuals who were corrupt seemed to escape punishment or came out clean.

On a different matter, Liew said the federal government would hasten repairs to the old High Court building here at a cost of RM17 million.