Najib Must Prove That The Repeal Of The Sedition Act And The Introduction Of The National Harmony Act Is Not Another Thinly-Disguised Draconian Law(en/cn)

Press Statement by DAP Secretary-General and MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on 12.7.2012

Najib Must Prove That The Repeal Of The Sedition Act And The Introduction Of The National Harmony Act Is Not Another Thinly-Disguised Draconian Law By Immediately Withdrawing All Charges Under The Sedition Act Against Karpal Singh And Other Leaders, And Issuing An Apology To All Those Convicted Throughout The Years Under Both The Sedition Act As Well As The ISA.

Last night, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak announced that the government will finally be repealing the Sedition Act 1948. He then added that it will be replaced with a National Harmony Act.

DAP welcomes the repeal of this draconian and antiquated piece of legislation that has over half a century been used and abused to suppress legitimate political opposition. However, we also urge the government to ensure that its replacement, the National Harmony Act, will not end up like the newly-introduced Peaceful Assembly Act which has turned out to be nothing but a sham.

The Peaceful Assembly Act, which was introduced last year, has introduced a multitude of arbitrary requirements, making it even more difficult for people to assemble, and incredibly even outlaws street protests. Worse, the act has now been used to selectively prosecute opposition leaders including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the Bersih 3.0 protest in Dataran Merdeka earlier this year.

Dato’ Sri Najib needs to prove to Malaysians that the repeal of the Sedition Act and the introduction of the National Harmony Act is genuine and not another thinly-disguised draconian law, and the only way to do this is by immediately withdrawing all existing charges under the Sedition Act against Karpal Singh and other leaders.

I myself have been a victim of the Sedition Act. In 1998, I was convicted and imprisoned for 18 months for allegedly making seditious remarks that caused public disaffection over my defence of an under-aged Malay girl who was detained despite being a rape victim. These charges were filed against me even though there had been no demonstrations against me for defending this under-aged rape victim. This is because no one in their right mind would make such a demonstration against someone who was defending the victim instead of the rapist. And yet I ended up charged under the Sedition Act. Here, it is very clear that like the now-repealed ISA, the Sedition Act has long been used as a convenient political tool against members of the opposition including myself, other MPs, journalists and even NGO leaders.

Dato’ Sri Najib himself recently admitted that the ISA was a political tool that has in the past been used for “wrongful reasons”. If that is the case, then Dato’ Sri Najib should now prove his sincerity and commitment to reform by not only withdrawing all existing charges against Karpal Singh and other leaders but also issuing an official apology to all those convicted throughout the years under both under the Sedition Act as well as the ISA.

——Mandarin Version—–
民主行动党秘书长及峇眼国会议员林冠英于2012年7月12日在吉隆坡发表的文告

纳吉必须马上取消以煽动法令对卡巴星及其他领袖的指控,同时必须正式向这些年来被煽动法令及内安法令定罪的人士道歉,以证明取消煽动法令以国家和谐法取代并不是又一个稍加伪装的恶法。

昨晚,首相拿督斯里纳吉宣布政府将取消1948年的煽动法令,接着也补充将以国家和谐法令取代。

民主行动党欢迎取消这项超过半世纪以来,用以合法迫害政治异己的过时恶法。然而,我们也吁请政府要确保替代的国家和谐法令,最终不会像之前新推行的和平集会法令一样,只不过是玩假的。

去年推行的和平集会法提出了多不胜数的专制规定,导致人们更加无法进行集会,更甚的是禁止街头示威。最糟糕的是这项法令如今开始滥用来控告参加今年独立广场净选盟集会的反对党领袖,包括拿督斯里安华。

纳吉必须马上取消以煽动法令对卡巴星及其他领袖的指控,同时必须正式向这些年来被煽动法令及内安法令定罪的人士道歉,以证明取消煽动法令以国家和谐法取代是来真的,并不是又一个稍加伪装的恶法。

我自己本身在1998年就因为捍卫遭性侵却反而被扣留的未成年马来少女,遭指控发表引起公众不满的煽动言论。结果,我成为了煽动法的受害者,被定罪并且判监18个月。

这项指控当时竟然可以成功获得开档调查,即使当时并没有任何人举报我捍卫这名遭性侵的未成年马来少女。因为在每一个正常人的思维中,不可能不去举报性侵者,反倒过来去举报为受害者伸张的捍卫者。但最终我还是在煽动法下被控告。在此,可以明显的看出,如今终于取消的内安法令及煽动法令是如何长期成为政治迫害的工具,对付包括我在内的反对党人士、国会议员、新闻从业员及非政府组织领袖。

纳吉最近已经承认内安法令是一项在过去一直被借以滥用的政治工具。既然纳吉这么说,那他现在就必须拿出诚意及承诺,不只要取消目前以煽动法令对卡巴星及其他领袖的指控,更要正式向这些年来遭到煽动法令及内安法令定罪的所有人士道歉。

林冠英

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