11 March 2014

LFL is shocked and extremely concerned with Karpal Singh’s sedition conviction and RM4,000 fine imposed by High Court Judge Azman Abdullah thus disqualifying him as member of Parliament (although the disqualification would be stayed until he has exhausted all legal appeals).

We reiterate that making political or critical comments is not a crime and especially so in Karpal’s case as he was merely giving his legal opinion on the 2009 constitutional crisis in Perak and under no circumstances could it be described as seditious.

Karpal’s sentence today, following Anwar Ibrahim’s five years’ imprisonment sentence and Tian Chua’s one month imprisonment sentence clearly show that the government is embarking on political persecution and underhanded tactics as strategies to undermine its political adversaries.

Under PM Najib Razak’s administration, the misuse of sedition law reaches a shocking and unprecedented level with pending sedition charges against Tian Chua, Tamrin Ghafar, Haris Ibrahim, Safwan Anang, Adam Adli, Hishamuddin Rais, Suhaimi Shafie while Uthayakumar is presently in jail.

The improper use of the judiciary, Attorney-General’s Chambers and police in bringing false or politically motivated charges against the opposition or dissidents undermines the rule of law and public confidence in the administration of justice.

The continuous use of sedition goes to show that PM Najib Razak’s words have no value since he has repeatedly broken the promise he had made on 11 July 2012 when he announced that the Sedition Act would be abolished.
Malaysia surely must hold the unwanted record of using sedition law the most anywhere in the world. Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence designed by our British coloniser to shore up the position of minority white rule. It certainly has no place in Malaysia and most modern democratic states have repealed or put it into disuse.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

11 March 2014

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