What is sedition?
“A ‘seditious tendency’ is a tendency:
to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any Ruler or against any Government (in Malaysia);
to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State;
to raise discontent amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or of the Ruler of any State or amongst the inhabitants of Malaysia or of any State;
to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia;
to question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III of the Federal Constitution or Article 152, 153 or 181 of the Federal Constitution.”
(Source: Section 3 of the Sedition Act 1948)
Allegedly seditious acts:
1) Talking about race-based vs needs-based affirmative action
“In [Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek’s] speech, he questioned the quota on equity given to bumiputeras. He claimed that this system, which has been long practised in Malaysia, should be gradually replaced with meritocracy and need.”
“This is an irresponsible statement that aims to destroy the harmony between races.”
“It is clear that this is against the law, as provided under the Sedition Act. Therefore the authorities should take action against Chua.”
Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali, when lodging a report against Chua for the MCA president’s opening speech at the recent Chinese Economic Congress. Chua had called for preferential treatment to be given according to needs, rather than race.
Syed Hassan said Chua’s statement would cause unrest among Malay Malaysians because the Federal Constitution clearly provided that nobody could question their special position. (Source: Perkasa lodges report against Soi Lek, Malaysiakini, 18 Aug 2010)
2) Praying for the chief minister
“So far, we have called 15 people to help in the investigation.”
“Statements recorded from several witnesses confirmed that the incidents took place, and we are going ahead with the investigation.”
Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob, saying police had set up a special team to investigate the alleged replacement of the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong’s name with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s during Friday prayers at a mosque. He said investigations were being conducted under the Sedition Act.
Initial investigations have reportedly revealed there was no such name replacement, but that there had been separate prayers for guidance for the chief minister to embrace Islam. (Source: Penang police form special team to probe sermon “doa” issue, The Malay Mail, 22 Aug 2010)
3) Selling Zunar’s comic books
“When I asked the officers about the change, they told me that they were merely following orders.”
“Of course, I questioned them because I found it to be very strange.”
Book vendor Hawee Othman, on her charge under the Sedition Act for selling copies of monthly magazine Isu Dalam Kartun by Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, more popularly known as Zunar. Hawee had initially been investigated under the Printing Presses and Publications Act. However, later she found out the charge had been changed to one under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act. (Source: Cops put Zunar comic vendor in a fix, Malaysiakini, 21 Aug 2010)
4) Questioning vernacular schools
“Chinese and Tamil primary schools do not impede national unity. Bigots and racialist groups which do not exclude Majlis Perundangan Melayu are the main culprits undermining national unity.”
MCA central committee member Loh Seng Kok, urging authorities to probe the Malay Consultative Council (MPM) under the Sedition Act after it called for vernacular schools to be abolished. (Source:Under siege MCA claims MPM flouting sedition laws, Malaysiakini, 23 Aug 2010)
5) Staging a Christian play in Shah Alam during Ramadan
“We want the church and pastor to be investigated for sedition and for insulting the Sultan.”
Petaling Perkasa chairperson Zainal Abidin Ahmad, calling for a Shah Alam church and its pastor to be investigated for planning to stage a Christian play at the Shah Alam Convention Centre during Ramadan. He said a Ramadan bazaar was held around the convention centre and buka puasa buffets were held in the area. (Source: Perkasa complains about Shah Alam Christian play during Ramadan, The Malaysian Insider, 17 Aug 2010)
6) Blogging about the royal institution
“We detained him for about two hours and he was very cooperative. We just wanted to record a statement from him about a posting in his blog which touched on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the royal institution.
“The action followed a police report that was lodged about the posting.”
Negeri Sembilan police chief Datuk Osman Salleh, referring to the detention of Parti Keadilan Rakyat supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin. Badrul Hisham, also known as Chegubard, was detained under the Sedition Act in relation to a posting on his blog about the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong and the royal institution. (Source: Police: Chegubard detained to record statement, theSun, 10 July 2010)
7) Reporting about foreign workers working on the new palace not getting paid
“[Therefore], their reports are anti-Malay and anti-Istana. The reports [portrayed] the palace as if it was being built upon the tears of the people.”
Senator Ezam Mohd Nor, calling on the Home Ministry to probe The Star and Malaysiakini for publishing reports on the woes of foreign workers working on the site of the new palace. The Star reported that many of the 1,000 foreign workers had not received their salary for three months. (Source: Ezam wants gov’t to probe Malaysiakini, Star, Malaysiakini, 3 Jul 2010)
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I’m not a lawyer so I have to ask… does “exciting disaffection” have some other meaning other than what it would seem to mean in plain English? Cos if it means just that, then that’s ridiculously broad…any criticism could fall under that.