Press Statement

6 October 2015

Sedition Act remains antiquated, illiberal and undemocratic despite Federal Court verdict

 

Lawyers for Liberty is extremely disappointed with the Federal Court’s Azmi Sharom verdict today that upheld the constitutionality of the Sedition Act despite its manifest antiquated, illiberal and undemocratic nature. Most modern states in the world have either repealed or put such oppressive legislation into disuse.

The rampant and indiscriminate use of the Sedition Act and its wide, arbitrary and ill defined “seditious tendency” offence function as a catch-all provision to target all and sundry for anything that is remotely contentious, thus stifling democratic norms and creating a climate of fear.

The situation is made worse by the blatant selective and double standards use of the Sedition Act – cracking down hard against dissidents and opposition politicians for anything remotely controversial, for example against N. Surendran, Teresa Kok, Adam Adli, RSN Rayer and many others while Umno or pro-Umno personalities like Ibrahim Ali and ‘Ali Tinju’ are let off even though what they have said is far more inflammatory.

Further, these investigations and prosecutions are an extreme waste of valuable police and Attorney-General’s Chambers resources that would have been better used to address real crimes, rather than being squandered on what are clearly political offences.

We reiterate our calls for the Sedition Act to be abolished, a moratorium to be imposed on its further use, and all prosecutions to be dropped pending the repeal of the Act as promised repeatedly by the Prime Minister.

 

Released by:

Eric Paulsen

Executive Director

Lawyers for Liberty

 

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