Gerakan 'perturbed' by volte-face on Sedition Act

Gerakan is "perturbed" by Prime Minister Najib Razak's latest announcement that the 1948 Sedition Act remains and will be fortified.

The party's national and human rights bureau chief Baljit Singh said that Najib has gone back on his promise in 2012 to abolish the Act and replace it with the National Harmony Bill.

"He should not make a U-turn. We must move forward and that is to come up with a National Harmony Act," Baljit said when contacted.

"The Sedition Act is outdated. It has outlived its usefulness," added the senior lawyer from Penang.

Baljit (left) said people were concerned that the Sedition Act was "unequally enforced" and there were incidences of selective prosecution when the law was applied to certain individuals.

"Serious cases which were seditious in nature were left off the hook," he quipped.

Baljit was asked to comment on Najib remarks at the Umno General Assembly today that ""Not only will this Act be retained, it will be fortified.

Najib's declaration was met with a thundering applause by members at the AGM.

He was confident that Umno's allies in BN was with him on the matter.

Baljit said he understood Najib and Umno's concerns resulting in strengthening the Act to protect Islam and other faiths as well as tp deal with calls for secession of Sabah and Sarawak.

"But all these concerns can be incorporated into the National Harmony Act," Baljit said.

He urged Najib to relook into the need for the Sedition Act, asking that the matter be rediscussed in the BN supreme Council.

Since Merdeka, at least 20 individuals comprising academicians, activists, student leaders, preachers, opposition politicians and a journalist was either probed or arrested under the Act.

But Najib said he had listened to suggestions given by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Wanita Umno, Umno Youth and Puteri Umno, for the Act to be retained as well as concerns raised by the grassroots on the issue.

 

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