SHAH ALAM, June 8: The laws to defend the institution of Kings is enough and the formulation of new laws for the purpose is assumed to be used to constrain the people’s right to freedom of expression, said Pakatan Rakyat leaders today.
They also suggested for the Federal Government to continue efforts to eliminate the Sedition Act 1948 and to replace it with an act that would protect racial harmony.
The contacted leader said that there should not be a “Treason Act” as recommended by the former Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, because the term can be manipulated.
Subang MP, Sivarasa Rasiah suggested that a specific law to prevent incitement violence or racial and religious hatred to be created to replace the existing Sedition Act 1948.
Sivarasa, who is also a lawyer, said that should the Treason Act be created, it will be misused to suppress any individual as it has happened in the case of five activists who were charged for criticising the results of the recent 13th General Election (GE-13).
“For example, lately we see Umno-BN using the Act (Sedition) to sue a lot of people.
“We also ask for the Sedition Act to be repealed and for the current Prime Minister to be ready to repeal it because he acknowledged that the Act is unnecessary. Why should we create another Act?” said Sivarasa.
Sivarasa added that the Government should remember that the balance between freedom of speech and security is important in a country.
Meanwhile, the Director of the PKR legal bureau, Latheefa Koya questioned the purpose and context of the Treason Act which they want to set up.
“Who has committed treason? Who decides on who has committed treason? What does treason really mean?
“The classification of treason and sedition is too wide and it covers all the fundamental rights and the rights of an individual to question any issue,” she said when contacted.
Latheefa added that the desire to create the act is only to put pressure on the opposition and vocal individuals in expressing views.
“So far, there is no basis to make such recommendations because it has no meaning at all,” she said.
In addition, PKR Strategy Director, Rafizi Ramli stated that a new act need not be created to punish individuals who criticise the king.
He said that acts such as the sedition act will have a negative impact and cause the country to be labelled as extremists.