Throw Sedition Act in the bin, says Karpal

The DAP chairman and renowned lawyer says the law is a British colonial legacy which should be thrown into the trash bin. 

Athi Shankar, FMT

The Sedition Act 1948, is a British colonial legacy that should be thrown into the trash bin of history, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh here today.

Terming the Act as a “draconian outdated law”, he said the Sedition Act has had outlived its purpose as it was legislated by the British to quell the opposition against the formation of Malayan Union, then.

He called on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to make an official announcement to re-commit his stand to repeal the law.

He claimed that the ruling Barisan Nasional government had often misused and abused the Sedition Act to clampdown political rivals.

Since Najib made the announcement to abolish Sedition Act, last year, Karpal claimed that more government critics had been charged with various seditious offences.

“Najib must keep his promise to repeal the act,” Karpal, who himself had faced two seditious charges, told newsmen in his Bukit Gelugor parliamentary constituency.

In July last year, Najib announced that the Sedition Act will be abolished and the decision was made so as to seek a mechanism that will provide the best balance between the need to protect the freedom of expression of each citizen and the need to address the complexity of the plural society in this country.

Health Minister Dr S. Subramaniam told newsmen yesterday that the Cabinet would abolish the sedition law as promised and replaced it with a National Harmony law.

He also revealed that the Barisan Nasional federal government was currently formulating the National Harmony Act, which was to ensure political stability and harmony among the multi-ethnic society in this country.

“As soon as this protection is in place, we will revoke the Sedition Act,” the MIC leader was reported to have said.

Karpal also urged the government not to resurrect a new law similar to the Sedition Act.

He also slammed Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for openly defying and showing disrespect to Najib when he said recently that the Sedition Act should not be repealed.