SUARAM express great disappointment at the Federal Court’s decision made in relation to the Sedition Act 1948 in Azmi Sharom’s case.
The acknowledgement and ‘approval’ of the Sedition Act 1948 as constitutional would undoubtedly constrain freedom of expression in Malaysia. With the tacit approval of the Federal Court of Malaysia, SUARAM have no doubts that prosecution and persecution of civil and political rights defenders under the Sedition Act 1948 would proceed with renewed zeal. The 207 cases of documented investigations and/or remands made under the Sedition Act 1948 would be merely a prelude to what may come.
Recalling the equally disappointing decision made by the Court of Appeal in relation to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, Malaysians have much to fear for in regards to our rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution. As one of the primary defender of the Federal Constitution and all rights enshrined in our Federal Constitution, It is unfortunate that we have seen the Judiciary in Malaysia indirectly facilitate the deterioration and possibly the demise of human rights and civil liberties in Malaysia.
The worrying trend of human rights violations and erosion civil liberties by the Government of Malaysia would likely continue unabated following the tacit approval of the judiciary. This unfortunate trifecta of disappointing circumstances leaves Malaysians with little to no recourse to justice when it comes to human rights and civil liberties.
As the primary body task to uphold the Federal Constitution and dispense justice to all Malaysians without fear nor favour, the Federal Court of Malaysia must not forget their legal and moral duties to Malaysians.
On this note, SUARAM would like to remind the esteemed and respectable judges of Malaysia of the famous saying that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. In light of the decent decisions, it is disappointingly clear that there is still much to be done before there is true justice in Malaysia.
As we did with the Internal Security Act 1960, SUARAM together with Malaysian Civil Societies and NGOs will work hard with Gerakan Hapus Akta Hasutan (GHAH) to repeal the Sedition Act 1948. SUARAM hope that this unfortunate turn of events would not silence the brave voices including but not limited to those of Azmi Sharom and the students of University Malaya.
Lastly, SUARAM would like to offer Professor Azmi Sharom and other victims who are charged and penalized for exercising their freedom of expression our deepest sympathies and would reiterate that SUARAM will stand in solidarity by your side through these trying times.