Malaysia: Sedition Act to be abolished and replaced by new act this year, says Liew Vui Keong

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Sin Chew Daily/ANN) - Sedition Act will be repealed this year and the infamous act will be replaced by a new act, says Minister in the Prime Minister`s Department Liew Vui Keong. He said the act is likely to be repealed in July when the parliament resume its sitting or October. The minister is working with several other ministers to replace the act. 

Sedition Act 1948 will be abolished and replaced by new act this year, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong. 

The government would be drafting a new act or incorporate seditious offences into the Penal Code, he said in a joint media interview in conjunction with one-year anniversary of Pakatan Harapan as the federal government. 

Liew, who is the minister in charge of legal matters, said: “The Cabinet has decided to abolish Sedition Act. Home Ministry would be in charge as the act comes under the jurisdiction of Home Affairs.

“The government hope to repeal the act in parliament sitting scheduled in July. Otherwise it will be in October,’’ he said. 

Liew said he would be looking into a new act to replace Sedition Act working with P. Waytha Moorthy, minister in charge of national unity, Mujahid Yusof Rawa who is in charge of religious affairs and Minister of Communication and Multi Media Gobind Singh. Alternatively, offences related to insulting rulers can be incorporated into the Penal Code. 

He stressed that the government would ensure people enjoy freedom in speech. 

“We need to have a clear definition on sedition. Prior to this the definition of sedition is narrow. We want to ensure freedom in speech but we would never condone those who utter remarks to defame Malay rulers or some of the politicians, especially our leaders,’’ he said.

Liew said the Pakatan Harapan government do not mind people`s constructive criticism as the criticism assist the government to progress and develop. 

Abolishing sedition act is one of the pledges made in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto. In Oct 10 last year, the government issued a moratorium on Sedition Act. However, the government revoked the moratorium in December. Later, the police cited Sedition Act to charge several people who insulted Malay rulers in social media.