KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 – Malaysia needs the Sedition Act to ensure the safety of the Chinese and Indian communities, said a Malay rights group. Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said it was untrue that the colonial-era law was enacted to protect the interests of the Malay community. “Actually, the Sedition Act is to protect the Chinese and Indians, and not to protect the Malay community. “The Malays are the majority group, if there is any conflict, it would not affect them but affect the minority groups,” he said at a forum on the Sedition Act and the now-repealed Internal Security Act in Kuala Lumpur today. Ibrahim said the repeal of the ISA had been done for political reasons.

“Abolishing the ISA was not a decision made by the security forces, instead it was a decision by the politicians. “That decision by the government was made in the hopes of getting back two-thirds of the people’s support for Barisan Nasional, it was a populist decision,” said Ibrahim, who was once detained under the ISA himself in 1974. He also rejected claims that the ISA was a cruel law, saying that he had been treated well for the two years and two months of his detention. “While I was in detention, there were all sorts of activities to be done like gardening and playing badminton,” he said. On calls to repeal the Sedition Act, he said the campaign to retain the 1948 law had received a lot of support since it was launched recently.

A coalition of Malay groups recently formed the Gerakan Warganegara Mempertahankan Akta Hasutan to pressure the government to retain the Sedition Act. Also speaking at the same forum today was former Court of Appeals judge, Datuk Md Noor Abdullah, who said the government would be making a second mistake if it repealed the Act. Md Noor said Putrajaya’s first mistake had been to repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 last year. “The decision to repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 has clearly been a loss for the government and the public,” he said. “Therefore, we should not make a second mistake by repealing the Sedition Act,” the ex-judge said. He also criticised weak law enforcement including the prosecution process by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Credit : The Malaysian Insider

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