Sedition dragnet creates shadow of abuse over new preventive laws


The powers that be seem to be relentless in its abuse of laws and legislative provisions which seems more to curtail dissent than to prevent actual crime or unrest. 

Hazlan Zakaria, The Ant Daily

“That is what they are telling us all, they are going to do this to all of us who dare criticise them!” was my second response to news that cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better known by his moniker of Zunar, has been re-arrested on April 3.

This was on the day that he was charged and later released on bail for a whopping record of nine simultaneous charges under the Sedition Act.

As reported, after being granted 30 minutes to have lunch, Zunar was then arrested again by the police. This time to assist their investigation into allegations that he had breached Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA), or as explained by the IGP to the media later for “misusing the Internet”.

As noted by lawyers, like the Sedition Act which casts a wide net for the authorities to haul in anyone they so please as it is very vague, Section 233 of the CMA is just as open to abuse for it also lacks specifics and cast just as wide a net.

The specifications being for abuse of network infrastructure, which can be anything that the framers of a charge so claim it to be.

At the same time in responding to queries on the cartoonist’s re-arrest, the IGP also warned that all those who ‘misuse’ the Internet and create feelings of discontent are asking for it and will suffer the same fate as Zunar.

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