Friday, May 14, 2010

Freedom of Speech: Sedition Act is an archaic deterent that must be repealed

Is there freedom of speech in Malaysia? YES - there is but there are limits....and some of these limits are alright...but some are unreasonable and not acceptable like the fact that Malaysians are  not supposed "...to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution...." .

I am of the position that any man-made law is certainly open to discussion and even questioning, including the 'taboo topics' listed in the Federal Constitution. What makes a Constitution drafted in the 50's sacred - a constitution that, I believe,  never even went through a referendum process where all Malaysians could have their say.  

What is sedition....and what is not? Well, look at the relevant section 3 and 4 of Malaysia's Sedition Act 1948?

It is very wide - and seems to say that even exciting disaffection against the Ruler, Government, against the administration of justice (Judiciary...what else?)...raising feelings of "ill-will and hostility" between races....classes(does this mean between the rich and the poor?) can result in you be charged for sedition.... BUT, not so if it was to 'to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures', ' to point out errors or defects in any Government or constitution...' or...

But, alas this is Malaysia and here there are sufficient laws that could be used to charge any person for anything....[I remember the say I saw a young man being charged in the Magistrate Court for possession of a paper cutter he bought from a stationery shop...which they said was a weapon..]. And, that is why Malaysians must be fearless and willing to face all risks of retaliation from the authorities of the day (and their 'friends') in standing up for justice, human rights, god-given human freedoms, etc...

Let us not lie - but speak the truth which can be proven. If not, express your opinion...raise questions...."In my opinion, ...."

3.  Seditious tendency.
(1) A "seditious tendency" is a tendency -
(a) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government;
(b) to excite the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure in the territory of the Ruler or governed by the Government, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;
(c) to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;
(d) to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;
(e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia; or
(f) to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (1) an act, speech, words, publication or other things shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency -
(a) to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures;
(b) to point out errors or defects in any Government or constitution as by law established (except in respect of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative referred to in subsection (1)(f) otherwise than in relation to the implementation of any provision relating thereto) or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of the errors or defects;
(c) except in respect of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative referred to in subsection (1)(f) -
(i) to persuade the subjects of any Ruler or the inhabitants of any territory governed by any Government to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in the territory of such Government as by law established; or
(ii) to point out, with a view to their removal, any matters producing or having a tendency to produce feelings of illwill and enmity between different races or classes of the population of the Federation,
if the act, speech, words, publication or other thing has not otherwise in fact a seditious tendency.

(3) For the purpose of proving the commission of any offence against this Act the intention of the person charged at the time he did or attempted to do or made any preparation to do or conspired with any person to do any act or uttered any seditious words or printed, published, sold, offered for sale, distributed, reproduced or imported any publication or did any other thing shall be deemed to be irrelevant if in fact the act had, or would, if done, have had, or the words, publication or thing had a seditious tendency.
4.  Offences.
(1) Any person who -
(a) does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or which would, if done, have a seditious tendency;
(b) utters any seditious words;
(c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; or
(d) imports any seditious publication,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and any seditious publication found in the possession of the person or used in evidence at his trial shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.
(2) Any person who without lawful excuse has in his possession any seditious publication shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding two thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, and the publication shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.



2 comments:

Dinah said...

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