Promote Freedom of Expression, Not Sedition Act 1948

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemn the arrests and investigation under the Sedition Act 1948 by the Royal Malaysian Police and the deafening silence to the continued use of the Sedition Act 1948 by the Pakatan Harapan administration.

The investigation and attempts to criminalize against alleged obscene or rude messages by individuals against the royal institution is a violation of freedom of expression and the Pakatan Harapan administration should not propagate and enable the culture of censorship and criminalization of expression that was practised by its predecessor.

Irrespective of the offensive or unsavoury nature of comments made on social media, comments or expression which do not incite violence against others should not be criminalized or needlessly silenced. The demand of an unidentified online mob for censorship and criminal action is nothing more than mob justice that disregards fundamental freedom and would further undermine freedom of expression in Malaysia.

Malaysians both online and offline must learn and understand that freedom of expression does not apply only to commentaries or expression which they agree with. Freedom of expression must include opposing views and potentially offensive or unsavoury comments or expressions. Even if the Malaysian public fails to acknowledge the wisdom behind allowing opposing voices, the political power of the day and state institution must not cede to the pressure of mob justice and curtail freedom of expression or enable to the proliferation of mob justice.

While some Malaysians have clearly forgotten or chose to pretend that the Sedition Act 1948 is perfectly adequate today, the draconian nature of the Sedition Act 1948 and the repression propagated by it has not changed. The Pakatan Harapan administration must maintain the moral high ground by fulfilling its election promise and abolish the Sedition Act 1948.

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