PETALING JAYA: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today criticised Pakatan Harapan (PH) for failing to revoke the Sedition Act despite pledging to do so in its election manifesto, following news of the police investigation into Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jayakumar over his comments on the one-day Parliamentary sitting on Monday.
In a statement, LFL said PH took no steps to repeal the Sedition Act or amend Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 as promised despite holding federal power from May 2018 to February this year.
“As a result, these laws continue to be available to be used against alleged wrongdoers,” it added.
Xavier, who was water, land and natural resources minister for PH, had said in a video uploaded on Monday that the one-day session was “worthless” as no debates were allowed.
He also said the government had cut short the sitting as it was afraid to face the assembly after Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s bid for a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, claiming that the shortened session was only to safeguard government interests.
Yesterday, Bukit Aman said it would be calling Xavier to assist in investigations under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Bukit Aman CID (Prosecution/Legal) deputy director Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said police had received 33 reports on the matter so far.
LFL said the legislation had long been criticised by the Bar Council as well as human rights groups.
“Both Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233(1) of the Communications and Multimedia Act are drafted in wide terms, leading to ambiguity as to what is or is not an offence under these laws. This has a chilling effect on free speech,” it added.
It urged the Perikatan Nasional government to consider repealing the Sedition Act and amending the Communications and Multimedia Act.
It also called on the government to place a moratorium on all investigations under the two legislations pending their repeal or amendment.
Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.