Sedition Act won’t go before Umno polls, ST predicts 

(MM) – Datuk Seri Najib Razak is likely to sit on plans to repeal the Sedition Act until he has safely cleared the hurdle of the Umno general assembly later this year, according to an editorial by The Straits Times yesterday.

Last July, the prime minister announced plans to abolish the colonial-era law and introduce a National Harmony Act in its place. This was supposed to take place this year and, until last month, the biggest complaint had been the seeming delay in the process.

But all that was thrown on its head when Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi abruptly announced that the Cabinet only planned to amend the law instead of repealing it as Najib pledged, insisting it was still needed to safeguard Malay rights and the position of Malay rulers.

“[On] the surface, Dr Ahmad Zahid’s remarks betray his disagreement with the prime minister’s proposal to abolish the sedition law. The home minister’s words were actually a signal from the Umno right-wingers to Mr

Najib that he should go easy in his plans to repeal the law and in liberalising the economy,” Salim Osman, a senior writer with the Singapore newspaper, wrote in an editorial yesterday.

While the Cabinet has since reaffirmed Najib’s pledge to do away with the law that critics contend has been used to silence dissent, the ST wrote that the prime minister must still tread carefully given how the law is represented to the Malays and Umno.

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