Yesterday (4 September), a coalition of civil societies had demanded the government to stop using the “archaic and repressive” Sedition Act 1948 to impede the freedom of expression of its citizens, after 7 activist were being arrested under the Act.
The group had urged the authorities to drop all investigations against the #Lawan organisers and other human rights defenders, and demanded the government to reinstate the moratorium on the Sedition Act, as well as its immediate repeal.
The CSO Platform for Reform urge the government to act now and not involved in acts that cause human rights in Malaysia to deteriorate further.
The group also issued a statement that says the Sedition Act had instill fear and had hindered the citizens from exercising their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and expression, signalling a downward spiral into an authoritarian state.
They added that the Sedition Act is long overdue for repeal too.
“We are appalled to hear that seven Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) activists are again hauled in for questioning at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, this time under the Sedition Act.”
“The investigations are unwarranted, disproportionate, and demonstrate a persistent heavy-handed response to any form of expression that is critical of ruling powers. This only serves to prove the wide and arbitrary nature of the Sedition Act.” the group said in the statement.
Meanwhile, they said that there were at least 17 cases involvind 37 individuals who were being probed under this repressive law this year alone.
Yesterday (4 September) morning, 7 SSR members were being called in by Dang Wangi police for questioning under the Sedition Act over the second planned rally. It is the second time they are being questioned under the same Act.
During the Pakatan Harapan’s time, a moratorium was imposed on the Sedition Act, among several oppressive laws, but it was later lifted in December 2018.
However, when the Perikatan Nasional government came into power, the Act was re-implemented and it was being weaponised to suppress ciritical debates and dissent in Malaysia.
In a separate statement, SSR condemned the authorities for using the Act against its 7 members, claiming that the investigation carried out on them were a waste of time and public resources, and it is also a form of intimidation against the people.
They added that similar Act was used during the British colonial period to suppress those who demanded independence of the nation, and the continued use of the legislation is a mark of disrespect towards the country’s freedom fighters.
“As such, SSR urges the immediate repeal of the Act. Are we truly independent if the people’s voices continue to be oppressed by archaic laws?”
“We scream for independence but the fact is we are still colonised by penguasa tolol (foolish rulers)!” they said.
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Watch a video of the speech by SSR here: