Sedition Act Will Not be Repealed

Some Malaysians were asking for the repeal of the country’s Sedition Act, which has come under a lot of criticism from some quarters which felt that it was being used to silence legitimate criticism of the current government. The Sedition Act was passed by the British in 1948 when they returned to Malaya following the defeat of the Japanese. The law prohibits discourse deemed to be seditious. This includes speeches which it is felt incite “hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the government” or “feelings of ill and hostility between the races”.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had originally indicated he would revoke the law, now says that he feels it should remain in force and in fact be reinforced to protect the sanctity of Islam and other religions. In the last year, quite a few prominent people have been charged with violating the Act, which resulted in more requests for its repeal from those who thought it was not being used fairly.

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