MELAKA, Nov 30 – Sedition through the Internet, particularly social media, touching on religious sensitivities and calling for Sabah and Sarawak to leave the federation of Malaysia are among the elements taken into consideration in strengthening the Sedition Act 1948. Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the move was necessary to preserve unity and harmony among Malaysia’s multiracial society.
“These (three elements) are among the many elements that we have carefully studied in strengthening the Sedition Act…discussions were held with the legal advisers in the Home Ministry and Attorney-General’s Chambers on what needs to be tightened or amended.
“The bill to amend the Sedition Act is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March next year,” he said at a news conference after launching the ‘From Bikers 4 Gaza’ programme and Melaka Motorcycle Carnival at Autocity, Ayer Keroh, here.
Also present were Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and state police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye. The ‘From Bikers 4 Gaza’ event was to raise funds for the Palestines in Gaza suffering from Israel’s oppressive Zionist regime, while the two-day motorcycle carnival from yesterday showcases over 200 motorcycles of various makes, besides featuring 30 display and product sales booths.
Ahmad Zahid said sedition through the Internet, especially the social media, should not be allowed to go on just like that, but needed to be curbed to prevent the problem from becoming cancerous and destroying harmony in the country.
“The Sedition Act was introduced in 1948 where there was no Internet at the time. Therefore, this act now needs to be amended, taking into consideration the existence of this communication facility and other modern channels of communication,” he said.
However, he said, the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 was a specific act for tackling misuse of the Internet in this country, with the police working together with the relevant authority, the Communications and Multimedia Commission, on this.
On another note, Ahmad Zahid said the government would not compromise with any demand for the ashes of Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) leader Chin Peng, to be brought back to this country.
“We will not allow his ashes to be brought back as we are sensitive to the feelings of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the soldiers, policemen and others whose family members were killed or maimed by the brutal CPM insurgents,” he said.
A news portal today reported the call made by the 21st Century Malaysia Friendship Association, a non-governmental organisation, for the Malaysian government to respect the Hatyai Peace Accord signed on Dec 2, 1989 between the CPM and Thai government which allowed Chin Peng’s ashes to be brought back to Malaysia.