Irresponsible for PMO to put the burden and blame on the courts for sedition charges
30 August 2014
We refer to the Prime Minister’s Office statement today “Government comments on replacement of Sedition Act”.
We are astonished that the PMO would make such a blatantly misleading and even untrue statement that “until new legislation is in place, existing cases must be tried under existing laws. Any charges under the Sedition Act are a matter for the courts” and had nothing to do with the Government.
It is elementary that all criminal charges are brought by the Attorney General’s Chambers acting as Public Prosecutor and the courts are only the adjudicator. It is trite and common knowledge that the Attorney General’s Chambers is an appendage of the Government and far from being independent, it acts at the behest and interest of the Government.
It is therefore highly irresponsible for the PMO to place the burden and blame on the courts to resolve these spate of sedition charges when it is the Attorney General’s Chambers that is responsible for misusing its prosecutorial powers by selectively and in bad faith target opposition leaders and dissidents for what are clearly politically motivated charges.
The insistence of the PMO that the Sedition Act would still be repealed makes no sense as a responsible and democratic Government would act consistently with the promised repeal (which was first announced on 11 July 2012 and repeated on 2 July 2013 and again today) and not go the other extreme by increasing its usage.
Sedition is an antiquated and undemocratic offence, a relic from a bygone era and most modern states have repealed or put it into disuse. It certainly has no place in a modern and democratic Malaysia that we aspire to be.
We therefore call for all sedition charges to be withdrawn immediately; a moratorium to be imposed over its further use; and for the Act to be repealed.
Lawyers for Liberty
For more information, please contact:
Off: 03-7960 5688
Mobile: 012-716 2972
E-mail: [email protected]