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Seditious Malaysia: More to come

“The [new sedition] guidelines are expected to be ready next week.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, explaining that the government will introduce guidelines that will give a detailed definition of sedition in cyberspace. Hishammuddin said he had been involved in drafting the guidelines along with Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Hishammuddin‘s ministry had earlier also set up a special unit to monitor internet postings that could cause “disunity and racial tension”. (Source: Gov’t to unveil guidelines for online sedition next week, Malaysiakini, 20 Nov 2010)

“To me, what human rights means is that you can exercise your rights and there is no limit, except when you touch on another person’s right…that is the limit.

“Is it fair to accuse a person’s mother of being a prostitute? Is it my right to say that? Imagine if I said it and I did not know you?

“But if I knew you as a person and we are friends and joking around, we can say things in jest. So this means that the utterance of the word may not be seditious or made with ill-intention.”

Nazri, when asked about the new sedition guidelines by reporters in Parliament. He downplayed the impact of the new sedition guidelines, saying it would not be so easy to accuse someone of sedition as the intention to incite needed to be proven. (Source: Nazri says hard to prove sedition despite new cyberspace rules, The Malaysian Insider, 22 Nov 2010)

“We think the Sedition Act is archaic and should be abolished.”

“The law must go, we should have nothing to do with perpetuating the breaches of the right to free speech on the Internet that will affect everyone and not just Malaysians.”

Bar Council constitutional law committee chairperson Edmund Bon when asked about the government’s move to introduce new sedition guidelines. Bon said he saw no need to “refine” the Sedition Act and described the guidelines as yet another means to curtail dissent. He also said Malaysian society would be regressing if the authorities moved to control the spread of information widely available through electronic applications such as Twitter and Facebook. (Source: Putrajaya fired over new sedition rules covering cyberspace, The Malaysian Insider, 21 Nov 2010)

“In [Nurul Izzah's article], she questioned the ‘special position’ provided under Article 153 of the constitution. She even wanted to debate about this. This is seditious because we are not supposed to question this provision.”

Wirawati Perkasa chief Zaira Jaafar, in her police report against an article by Nurul Izzah Anwar where Nurul invited Perkasa to debate Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which spells out the “special position” of Malay Malaysians and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. (Source: Lembah Pantai MP being probed for sedition, Malaysiakini, 22 Sept 2010)

“I can’t talk right now. They are about to arrest me.”

Cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaq, popularly known as Zunar, speaking to Free Malaysia Today just before he was arrested for sedition. More than 60 copies of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia were seized just before it was scheduled to be launched. (Source: Zunar arrested under sedition, new book seized, Free Malaysia Today, 24 Sept 2010)

“How can a book of cartoons be seditious?”

“Zunar’s cartoons may sometimes be very cutting in their portrayal of Malaysian political life, and especially the ruling party, but they cannot in any way be regarded as seditious.”

International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders, condemning Zunar’s arrest. (Source: Malaysian cartoonist goes into hiding after sedition arrest, RFI, 28 Sept 2010)

“Sedition charges in Malaysia are often used to suppress press criticism and carry possible three-year jail terms for first-time offenders.”

US-based Committee to Protect Journalists, also condemning Zunar’s arrest and criticising the use of Malaysia’s sedition laws. (Source: Malaysian cartoonist goes into hiding after sedition arrest, RFI, 28 Sept 2010)

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5 Responses to “Seditious Malaysia: More to come”

  1. N Lee says:

    Under the Malaysian sun, cartoonists (and bloggers, too) can acquire super powers. So great is Zunar’s power that the BN government must capture him. His powers could bring down the BN government.

  2. Farouq Omaro says:

    In my opinion, the person who made a statement which resulted in a large crowd to gather in front of a Catholic church in Perak some time ago, the person who pledged that ten thousand people would gather to protest a peaceful forum on religious conversion, and the person who wrote in a West Malaysian-based Malay-language newspaper to malign the Christian faith should all be arrested under the sedition law. And also not forgetting the guy who posted a video of Benjamin Stephen on Youtube. Why prosecute Benjamin when the video was never intended for Muslims? Charge the guy who posted it on the internet!

  3. zarinah paycut says:

    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” – when this question was answered by Plato in his work The Republic, he answered that they will guard themselves against themselves. “We must tell the guardians a ‘noble lie’. The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.”

    I put it to you that there is no noble lie in this case, that there are questions you must answer as guardians of corporate governance in this country, that you must feel in you the same distaste for abuse of power and conflict of interest, that you will do what is right, that you will be true to your calling as one of the guardians for the institutions of this great country.

  4. Paul for Democracy says:

    There is a lot of thinking that the rakyat have to do before the next GE. Many promises have been made, but how many have been honored sincerely? I think this time, we should really put on our thinking caps and consider what we have been promised and what we have actually received.

    There is, at the moment, a microscopic improvement in some of the TV and radio programmes available to those of us who cannot afford Astro. Do not forget that there is an ulterior motive in this momentary change. Can the powers that be assure us, the rakyat, these changes will last? How long is this “improvement” going to last? Promises have been made to improve the standard of English in Malaysia. Why can’t we have quality English/Australian/American films with good story lines, that use good English with correct pronunciation and enunciation? I cannot help but laugh when our English-language newscasters do not pronounce the words they read correctly. Is this the way for our young Malaysians are to [improve their] English?

    There is a group of non-Malay Malaysians, who, being financially better of than the rest of the populace, keep telling themselves and those close to them that unless they support the ruling party their wealth will be taken away. Does that story still hold water?

    WAKE UP FELLOW MALAYSIANS! We have all been taken for a ride for too long! [...]


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