Monday, January 08, 2024

Repeal Sedition Act 1945 and Discontinue Prosecution Against ‘Papagomo’ and all others facing Sedition Charges


Media Statement – 8/1/2024

Repeal Sedition Act 1945 and Discontinue Prosecution Against ‘Papagomo’ and all others facing Sedition Charges

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) is appalled with the use of the Seditions Act 1948 to charge in court Blogger Wan Azri Wan Deris (a.k.a. ‘Papagomo’) for the making an allegedly seditious statement against the government, that claimed that the Malaysian government was “pro-Israel and pro-Western nations”. (FMT, 8/1/2024)

Sedition Act 1948 ought to have been repealed immediately after GE14, when the Pakatan Harapan government who ‘promised’ repeal of draconian laws like Sedition Law came into power. After Sheraton Move, when the Perikatan Nasional – Barisan Nasional unity government came into power, it was also not repealed.

Sedition Act criminalizes actions/word that causes seditious tendencies, which may ‘bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against’ the Ruler, government, administration of justice or generally ‘raise discontent or disaffection’. Truth, valid opinion or suspicion is no defence, as the crime is about ‘tendencies’ only. Intention of the maker when statement made is also irrelevant.

In July 2023, the Malaysian Cabinet and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim indicated that the Sedition Act will only be applied to provocations towards the royal institution. (CNA 26/7/2023) Anwar said that “Yes. From a policy perspective, we avoid using the Sedition Act, except when this touches on the position of the Rulers.’ (Malay Mail, 18/7/2023).

But on 4/9/2023, it was reported that ‘PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is being investigated for sedition over comments he made about the authority of the pardons board, Bukit Aman revealed.’ (FMT).

Then, on 16/10/2023, it was reported that Kean Wong, the editor of the controversial book titled “Rebirth: Reformasi, Resistance, And Hope in New Malaysia” was arrested and investigated for Sedition by the police. (FMT, 16/10/2023).

Now, for a claim that that the Malaysian government was “pro-Israel and pro-Western nations”, which really is on the face of it nothing but an opinion, a person has been charged under Sedition Act.

It must be remembered that the draconian Sedition Act 1948 was enacted by the British Colonial government, as a response to the growing call for the Independence of Malaya, and growing dissent against colonialism and British rule. This law criminalized opinions and even criticisms of the government, making anything that causes or may cause unhappiness with the government a crime. This law was enacted around the same time when laws were enacted by the British to ‘crackdown’ and stifle the labour movements and people’s organizations.

When Governments Are WEAK,  Sedition Act And Other Bad Laws Are Abused.

We recall how the then Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that he would repeal the Sedition Act in July 2012 because it "represents a bygone era" and was part of his reforms to develop Malaysia into a progressive democracy. However, after the General Elections that resulted in a poorer showing for the Barisan Nasional, that promise was broken, and the Sedition Act remained and continued to be used.

The same seem to have happened when Pakatan Harapan did worse in GE15, compared to GE14, and  assurance  to repeal the draconian Sedition Act was again shelved.

MADPET hopes that the promise to limit usage to provocations towards the royal institution  is NOT now abandoned in light of the alleged ‘Dubai Move’, as alleged growing disappointment with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim may lead a possible loss of confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament which will result in Anwar’s resignation as Prime Minister, and hence a change of government, is not the reason of expanding the usage of the Sedition Act against persons who have allegedly  ‘different’ opinion about Malaysia’s position on the Israel-Palestine issue.

Fears of losing political power should never be a hindrance to the repealing of the Sedition Act and all other draconian laws and provisions in legislations. People vote you in because of your values, principles and promises for reform, but when these are abandoned for fear or loss of political support amongst Malaysians or certain classes of Malaysian, then Malaysians must reject such politicians and political parties.

MADPET reiterates the call for the immediate repeal of Sedition Act 1948, and for a moratorium on the usage of this draconian act pending abolition;

MADPET calls for the immediate DISCHARGE of Wan Azri Wan Deris (a.k.a. ‘Papagomo’) and all others who are currently charged for breach of the Sedition Act in the Malaysian courts.


Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

‘Papagomo’ pleads not guilty to sedition charge

The charge against blogger Wan Azri Wan Deris is over a Facebook video in which he claims the government is pro-Israel.

If found guilty, Wan Azri Wan Deris faces a fine of up to RM5,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Blogger Wan Azri Wan Deris pleaded not guilty in the sessions court to a charge of making an allegedly seditious statement against the government.

Wan Azri – whose alter ego is believed to be Papagomo – was slapped with one charge under the Sedition Act 1948 for claiming that the government was “pro-Israel and pro-Western nations”.

The remark was allegedly made in a Facebook video on Nov 8, 2023.

If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to RM5,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.

Judge N Priscilla Hemamalini set bail at RM7,000 bail with one surety.

She fixed Feb 7 as the next mention date.

Wan Azri, who is a former Umno Youth leader, was represented by lawyer Rafique Rashid Ali, while deputy public prosecutor Mustaffa P Kunyalam appeared for the prosecution. FMT, 8/1/2024


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