The statement by lawyer Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman that calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act, 1948 is in itself seditious is disturbing and can create a fear of engaging in public discourse as to whether the said legislation is still relevant in Malaysia Baharu.
As correctly pointed out by lawyer N. Surendran, the Sedition Act was enacted even before the Federal Constitution came into existence and as such, it is wrong to suggest that the Sedition Act is a law enacted under Article 10(4) of the Constitution.
In this regard, it is also pertinent to note the wording of Article 63(4) of the Constitution which clearly suggests that the Sedition Act is distinct from offences enacted under Article 10(4) which indicates that the said Act does not come within the purview of Article 10(4).
Be that as it may, I do not wish to go into the details of the legality and accuracy of Aziz’s view as there have been sound arguments rebutting the same.
I, however, do believe that there is a silver lining behind Aziz’s view in that he has provided possibly the most compelling argument for the repeal of the said Sedition Act to date by claiming that those who advocate its repeal can be prosecuted.
Surely, this is exactly the sort of stifling of freedom of speech that Malaysia Baharu has committed to eradicate.
Aziz’s view can lead to a fear of speaking up on matters which, although sensitive, are nonetheless justified.
The Rakyat should not be subjected to such fear as this is certainly not what Malaysia Baharu stands for.
Dated this 21st January, 2019.
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT
CHAIRMAN NATIONAL LEGAL BUREAU
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY