Freedom a right, not a privilege, forum told

Source: The Malay Mail Online

Azmi also said that for those in power, freedom is viewed as an irritant and a threat to their dominance. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Azmi also said that for those in power, freedom is viewed as an irritant and a threat to their dominance. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PETALING JAYA, April 3 — The belief that imposing restrictions on civil liberties is necessary for national security is a misconception that should be rejected, law academic Azmi Sharom said today, insisting that freedom is a right and not a privilege.

Speaking at a forum entitled “Liberty or Security: You Choose”, Azmi said the government has to do more to convince the public why it needed to enact more restrictive laws, and said the public had every right to reject them should they curb their right to hold those in power accountable.

“This is a common misconception — the need to balance security and liberty. Freedom is a given, not a privilege like what some clown said,” Azmi told the forum, without specifying who he was referring to.

“Freedom is a right. If they want to have more security laws, they must justify to us why. We don’t have to justify to them (why we can reject them) as freedom is our right,” he said, drawing applause from the audience. Read more

The right to criticise politicians – Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

MEDIA stalwarts are enthused by a recent Court of Appeal decision on freedom to criticise politicians. Rightly so. A three-member panel made an important ruling: that a public figure must accept criticism of his conduct as a public official.

The court struck out the defamation suit brought by the mentri besar of Pahang against Utusan Malaysia for an article which, he complained, implied that he was useless as an MB as he had failed in his duties, used his political position to abuse critical media, and was a liability to his political party.

The article, ruled the court, expressed a critical view of the MB in his official and not personal capacity. It would be against the public interest if those exercising public functions were insulated from criticism. This would fetter freedom of speech. This was in the realm of political discussion of a public official – and the media could give their views without any threat of being sued. Read more