KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 – The fact that the much-talked about Sedition Act 1948 is still around is not meant to limit freedom of speech. Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said the purpose of the Act was to safeguard the nation from chaos.
The rakyat is free to criticise fairly without going overboard and breaking the country’s laws, Khairy told reporters at a press conference after the opening of the 2014 Umno General Assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here today. “The open political environment we have today has not seen us punishing or charging anyone for criticising the government. “Retaining the Act is not meant to close the avenue on freedom of speech. This is to protect our country.
Some of the things being said have crossed the line. If you want to criticise KJ’s policy, that’s fine, but don’t go overboard. There are also those insulting race and religion, not just Malays and Islam but others too,” Khairy said, referring to his initials KJ. “My responsibility as a youth leader is to continue to be close to the younger generation and tell them this is not meant to close avenues on speaking up.
“I believe Malaysians and the younger generation will support this,” he said. Khairy was responding on a question that the move by Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak to maintain the Sedition Act may not augur well with the younger generation.Najib had announced in his policy speech today that the Act would be maintained and strengthened.
Throughout the general assembly so far, delegates and leaders alike have been talking about attracting more youth to join the party in reacting to Najib’s call to make the party youthful. For Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Act is meant to take care of Malaysians. She added that Najib’s decision was not poltically motivated, but rather was an agenda to look out for Malaysians.
Puteri Umno chief Datuk Mas Ermeyati Samsudin said the wing supported the Act to stay and strengthened because it was in line with Najib’s concept of solidarity which was all highlighted in his policy speech today. “Puteri agrees with the Sedition Act to be retained because whatever it is, solidarity is important to Malaysians. It is not just to protect Islam but as a whole,” she said.