Press Statement
On-going politically-motivated cases must be urgently reviewed by the Solicitor-General
21 May 2018

Lawyers for Liberty wishes to remind the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the Solicitor-General (who is currently heading the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) pending the appointment of the new AG) of the urgent need to review the numerous politically-motivated cases that were undertaken by the previous BN government.

We recall Promise 27 of the PH manifesto, which details their promise to repeal oppressive laws such as the Sedition Act 1948, and the various provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 that are outdated, overly broad and misused to target dissidents and political opponents of the then-BN government.

While the repeal and amendments of these laws will require time and parliamentary proceedings to take place, there is no such restriction upon the prosecution policies of the AGC, and they should be rectified as a matter of urgency to reflect the priorities of the new government.

It will be a waste of time and public resources if the AGC continues to pursue these cases with the same politically-motivated vigour that they did under the previous administration. Worse still, it will undermine public trust in the current PH government and also the AGC, given the incompatibility of the promise of repealing these laws on the one hand whilst continuing to prosecute individuals under them on the other.

We call upon the Solicitor-General to immediately commence a review of all cases related to these laws and others, to determine whether these charges are genuine or politically motivated. Pending that, the Solicitor-General must direct all Deputy Public Prosecutors to put on hold all such on-going prosecutions, and that these cases be postponed until a final decision is made on the withdrawal of charges or until the abolishment of these laws.

Malaysia has lived under the oppression of these laws for far too long, and the election of the PH government marks a watershed moment in our country, ushering a new era of democratic change and reform. We fully expect the PH government to follow through on their promises, and for the AGC’s prosecution policies to reflect the same.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty