Friday, 17 October 2014

MEDIA STATEMENT 17 OCTOBER 2014 : THE CALL TO REPEAL THE SEDITION ACT 1948 IS TANTAMOUNT TO AN AFFRONT TO THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

MEDIA STATEMENT
17 OCTOBER 2014
THE CALL TO REPEAL THE SEDITION ACT 1948 IS TANTAMOUNT TO AN AFFRONT TO THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

WE, concerned citizens of Malaysia, responding to the Extraordinary General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar held on 19 September 2014, the Walk for Peace and Freedom organised by the Malaysian Bar and held on 16 October 2014 at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Open Memorandum to the Prime Minister, Malaysia dated 16 October 2014, wish to state as follows:-

a) That we reject, completely and unequivocally, the stand of the Bar Council and the expressed will of the Malaysian Bar per the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 19 September 2014 adopting the motion to call for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948;

b) That we strongly condemn, in no uncertain terms, the action of the Bar Council in passing the said motion, and further condemn the walk organised by the Council held on 16 October 2014 pursuant to the said motion;

c) That we reject totally the arguments put forth in the Bar Council Open Memorandum to the Prime Minister dated 16 October 2014 presented to the Government of Malaysia calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948;

d) That the views expressed by the Bar Council on the alleged inconsistency between the Sedition Act 1948 and freedom of speech guaranteed under the Federal Constitution are wholly misguided, misconceived and erroneous in fact and in law, as freedom must necessarily and of necessity be accompanied with and in conjunction to the burden and responsibility to face the law;

e) That the Sedition Act 1948 and the continued existence thereof was, is and will continue to be good and sufficient law particularly in protecting fundamental provisions of the Federal Constitution that form its basic structure namely those relating to Islam as the religion of Malaysia, bahasa Melayu as the national language, the rights of Malays and other indigenous communities as well as legitimate interests of other communities and the position of the Malay rulers;

f) That the Sedition Act 1948, together with other laws such as the now repealed Internal Security Act 1960, Banishment Act 1959, Restricted Residence Act 1933 and Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 have contributed to the maintenance of peaceful relations between different classes of Malaysian society and that the repeal thereof, like the repeal of the other laws stated herein, would be a colossal mistake, unhelpful, a setback for continued peaceful coexistence between such classes of communities and would surely lead to anarchy;

g) That existing offences in the Penal Code that provide for the crimes of causing disharmony, disunity and feelings of enmity and hatred on the grounds of religion, criminal intimidation, insulting with the intent to provoke a breach of peace, making statements conducive to public mischief, and offences against the Rulers are wholly inadequate to contain any breach of the peace in respect thereof as they are not preventive in nature and do not prevent situations that give rise to such breaches;

h) That the Sedition Act 1948, although ordinary legislation, is sanctioned by the Federal Constitutionin particular Article 63(4) of the Federal Constitution which prohibits the application and extension of parliamentary privilege to Members of Parliament who commit offences under the Sedition Act 1948, thus further ensuring that peace, harmony and security within Malaysia is not threatened by elected representatives who commit offences thereunder for personal and political gain and thissituation should be allowed to continue;

i) That as the Sedition Act 1948 is sanctioned by Article 63(4) of the Federal Constitution, the repeal of the Sedition Act therefore would arguably require the consent of the Conference of Rulers pursuant to the express provision of Article 159(5) of the Federal Constitution;

j) That the views and statements of bar associations of other jurisdictions and international law organisations such as the Nepal Bar Association statement dated 10.10.2014, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Press Release, the German Federal Bar letter dated 14.10.2014, the Law Council of Australia statement dated 15.10.2014, the New Zealand Law Society statement dated 15.10.2014, the Korean Bar Association statement dated 13.10.2014, the Law Society of England and Wales statement dated 10.10.2014, the LAWASIA statement dated 10.10.2014 and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association open letter dated 13.10.2014 are wholly unwarranted and uncalled for, and are nothing short of being an affront to the status of Malaysia as an independent nation with a sovereign right to her own laws that are in conformity with her own circumstances and conditions;

k) That the call to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and attempts to put extraneous pressure on the Government of Malaysia to repeal the said Act, is an affront to the letter and spirit of the Federal Constitution despite claims to the contrary;

AND IN PARTICULAR CALLS upon the relevant parties to:-

a) As regards the Bar Council, to cease and immediately desist from all actions in furtherance of any cause leading to the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, and to respect the desire of concerned citizens for the retention and continued enforcement of the Sedition Act 1948 as protecting immutable provisions of the Federal Constitution;

b) As regards the Bar Council, to cease misrepresenting and holding out to the public at large, in particular the Malaysian citizenry as well as the international community, that the Sedition Act 1948 is adraconian law and restricting the right to freedom of speech, when in actual fact and in law the existence of the said Act indicates the principle that freedom must be accompanied with responsibility, that such freedom of speech and expression is not without limit, and that the very existence of the Sedition Act 1948 is expressly sanctioned by the Federal Constitution;

c) As regards the Bar Council, to further desist from challenging or calling for the repeal of any preventive law including the Sedition Act 1948, and to immediately support and facilitate any move towards the retention and continued application of the Act and reintroduction of any complementing law such as the Internal Security Act 1960, the Banishment Act 1959, the Restricted Residence Act 1933 and the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and defend other existing preventive laws such as the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 as being necessary to secure law and order, maintain peace and security for the good of Malaysia and ensure continued respect for the supremacy of the Federal Constitution;

d) As regards the Government of Malaysia, to maintain the continued existence of the Sedition Act 1948, to disavow any previous commitment or undertaking to repeal the Act, to resist and reject any attempts by any party, be they domestic or international, calling for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, and continue to enforce the Sedition Act 1948 against all who fall afoul of its provisions, without fear or favour and as sanctioned and allowed by the Federal Constitution; and

e) As regards all foreign international law organisations and bar associations of other jurisdictions, to immediately cease and refrain from unwarranted interference in domestic Malaysian affairs, and to affirm and uphold the right of Malaysia to her own laws, customs and practices as guaranteed under international law including her right to retain and continue to apply the Sedition Act 1948 as allowed and sanctioned by her Federal Constitution.

Signed by,

TUN MOHAMMED HANIF OMAR
Retired Inspector-General of Police
Royal Malaysia Police

DATO’ OTHMAN TALIB
Retired Commissioner of Police
Former Director, Department of Internal Security and Public Order,
Royal Malaysia Police

TAN SRI MOHD ZAMAN KHAN
Chair, Integrity Bureau,
Majlis Perundingan Melayu
Kuala Lumpur

DATO’ SHAGUL HAMID BIN K.R. WILLIAMS @ ABDULLAH
Retired Director-General
Biro Tatanegara, JPM, Kuala Lumpur
Retired Deputy Director
INTAN, Kuala Lumpur

DATO’ ZULKIFLI BIN NOORDIN
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur
Former Member of Parliament for Kulim–Bandar Baharu, Kedah

MOHD KHAIRUL AZAM BIN ABDUL AZIZ
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur

AZRIL MOHD AMIN
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur

SHAHARUDIN ALI
Advocate & Solicitor, Selangor

NOR RAZMI BIN CHE MAT
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur

NATRAH BINTI MOHD SHAFIEI
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur

FAIDHUR RAHMAN ABDUL HADI
Advocate & Solicitor, Kuala Lumpur
AIDIL KHALID
Advocate & Solicitor, Selangor

MOHAMAMAD YAHYA BIN ZAKARIA
Advocate & Solicitor, Selangor

NURUL NADIA BINTI NORRIZAN
Advocate & Solicitor, Negeri Semblian

ZAMZURI MOHAMED TAHIR
Social Media Activist, Kuala Lumpur
MAZLIN BINTI ABDUL SAMAD
Receptionist, Selangor

 JABDIN BIN JUHAT
Deputy President,
Pertubuhan AKtivis Belia Tanah Air (ABATA)
Kuala Lumpur

ROZIPI RAZAK
Salesman, Kuala Lumpur

AHMAD SOFFIAN BIN MOHD SHARIFF
Secretary, Shah Alam Welfare Association

DONA LIYANNA SABARIAH BINTI AZMI
Housewife, Selangor

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