Pakatan must scrap Sedition Act as promised

Fadia Nadwa Fikri has been called up for investigation under the Sedition Act.

We need not believe in or subscribe to the contents of Fadiah Nadwa Fikri’s recent article. But we can’t haul her under the Sedition Act just because her writing offended us.

Such a reaction to intellectual discourse, a radical view or eloquently penned thought, belongs to the era of the Barisan Nasional.

Or so we thought.

Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto clearly spells that it would repeal some of the oppressive laws that give too much power to the government, including the Sedition Act.

And before victory at the polls, we had also promised not to target people who express their views peacefully, such as Fadiah.

Fadiah wrote about her thoughts about a picture of Anwar Ibrahim, prime minister-in-waiting, bending down and kissing the hand of the Sultan of Johor.

Clearly, we have gone back on our promise despite the fact that the the new government was elected on its reform platform.

The Sedition Act was enacted during the communist era and has reached the end of its shelf life. It is archaic and contains provisions that make it illegal to criticise the monarchy, Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the government, the justice system or some aspects of the Federal Constitution.

This is not acceptable, as the law cannot be used to curb anyone’s freedom of speech.

Malaysians, fed-up with Barisan Nasional’s use of repressive laws to stay in power, booted out a regime that has ruled for 61 years. They are watching us closely to see if we keep our word.

Pakatan Harapan must therefore repeal the Sedition Act as a way of showing that it will walk the talk and that the election manifesto was not just a ploy to win votes.

Charles Santiago is Member of Parliament for Klang.

The views of the writer are not necessarily those of FMT