Freeze Sedition Act, demand civil societies after probe into activists
September 4, 2021
A coalition of civil societies has called on Putrajaya to reinstate a moratorium on the use of the Sedition Act following the probe into activists over a protest which has since been called off.
The CSO Platform for Reform said between January and August, at least 37 individuals, comprising human rights defenders and artists, had been investigated under the “archaic and repressive law”.
Such actions, it said, were not only unwarranted but also proved the wide and arbitrary nature of the Sedition Act, which is open to selective investigation, prosecution and abuse.
“The coming into power of the previous Perikatan Nasional government in March 2020 saw the continued use of the Sedition Act, among other repressive laws.”
It was weaponised to suppress critical debate and dissent in Malaysia, the group said in a statement.
CSO Platform for Reform went on to say that Malaysia had promised to repeal the law at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013 and the UN General Assembly in 2018.
It also called for all investigations into organisers and supporters of the #Lawan rally to be dropped.
“It is incumbent on the current government to act now and not be complicit in allowing the human rights environment in Malaysia to deteriorate into a situation where human rights defenders and the general public operate within a climate of fear.”
Earlier today, seven Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat (SSR) members were called in by Dang Wangi police for questioning under the Sedition Act over the second planned rally.
The seven also had their phones seized.
The organisers had called off the gathering, initially scheduled to be held on Aug 21, following Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation as prime minister.
The first rally held on July 31 saw hundreds of protesters clad in black gathering in Kuala Lumpur.