Blatant sedition double standards for Umno or pro-Umno personalities

Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern the incredible excuses given by de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri and Sepang police chief Mohd Yusoff Awang for not taking further action against Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali and Petaling Jaya Utara Umno deputy division chief Mohamad Azli for their statements regarding Bible burning and abolishing vernacular schools respectively.

Both Minister Nancy and the Sepang Police Chief made up new defences not found in the Sedition Act or case laws to justify the authorities’ inaction – citing that Ibrahim Ali was “defending Islam” while Mohamad Azli was merely “suggesting” abolishing vernacular schools to be discuss at the UMNO General Assembly.

Surely Minister Nancy and the Sepang Police Chief cannot be so ignorant to not know the intention of the maker is irrelevant in sedition cases and it is an offence to act, speak or publish statements with a seditious tendency. The incredible excuses of “defending Islam” or merely a “suggestion” do not exist in sedition law and therefore unacceptable.

Whilst we have always maintained the threshold for freedom of speech must be high and that only in exceptional circumstances that it can be limited e.g. in cases of incitement to violence and hate speech, we are shocked by the blatant double standards that are being applied for Umno or pro-Umno personalities like Ibrahim Ali and Mohamad Azli whilst cracking down hard against dissidents and opposition politicians for anything that is remotely controversial or offensive as exemplified by the trigger-happy sedition charges against N.Surendran, Azmi Sharom, Adam Adli , RSN Rayer and many others.

We reiterate our calls for the Sedition Act to be abolished, a moratorium to be imposed 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

9 October 2014

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