Use of Sedition Act unconstitutional ‘as it’s not made by Parliament’

Source: The Malaysian Insight

picture of Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram

Former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram speaking at the launch of the Selangor Bar’s new auditorium in Section 13, Shah Alam, today. He says if a pre-Merdeka law cannot be brought to accord with the constitution because it violates the doctrine of separation of powers, then the court has ‘no choice, but to strike it down’. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin

THE use of the British-inherited Sedition Act 1948 to prosecute individuals is unconstitutional as it is a pre-Merdeka law, said a former Federal Court judge.

Gopal Sri Ram, who represented Anwar Ibrahim in the opposition leader’s second sodomy trial in 2014, said only Parliament had the power to impose restrictions on freedom of speech.

“The Sedition Act is an existing law. All right. It is good. You can frame it up on your wall. But, you cannot prosecute anyone under it because it is not a law made by Parliament.

“So, it is an existing law and a valid law, but it cannot be enforced,” he said during a lecture at the launch of the Selangor Bar’s new auditorium in Section 13, Shah Alam.

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Islamisation will tear Malaysia apart, says Marina Mahathir

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Illusions of Democracy contains a series of essays on democracy in Malaysia. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, January 18, 2018.

MALAYSIA is on a slippery slope if the nation carries on with its Islamisation agenda, which will not only divide society, but also promote violence, said Marina Mahathir.

Citing a recent example of a man slapping a Muslim woman for not wearing a headscarf in public, the socio-political activist said Islamisation is not going to be positive or healthy for the nation.

“What could possibly have given the man the idea that he is entitled to harangue and slap a Muslim woman for not wearing a tudung as happened recently in Penang,” she said at a book launch at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.

The footage of a man slapping a woman for allegedly not wearing a headscarf some two weeks ago went viral on social media.

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Court frees Zaid Ibrahim of offensive blog posting charge

Source: The Malay Online

Picture of zaid ibrahim

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 ― DAP member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was today acquitted by the Cyber Court over an allegedly offensive blog post he made in 2015.

Justice Zaman Mohd Noor who made the ruling, said the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

“The prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the case as there is a need to call the victim, [to ask] whether he is annoyed and how he felt. “Therefore the accused is released,” he said.

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence, which in this case would be the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read more

G25 granted leave to challenge book ban

Source: The Star Online

Pic drawn from The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has granted the G25 group of eminent Malays leave to challenge the ban of its book, titled Breaking the Silence: Voices of Moderation – Islam in a Constitutional Democracy.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Kamaludin Md Said made the order in chambers in the presence of the parties on Tuesday.

Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan did not raise objections.

Counsel Datuk Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who acted for G25, told reporters later that the court had allowed the leave for judicial review and fixed Jan 23 for case management.

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Banned books poser — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

A FRIEND rang me over a strange request. She said a book she bought some time ago has since then been banned. Declared an “undesirable publication” by the home minister. Now it is a crime to possess any banned book.

What do I do with this book? – the evidence of the crime, she asked.

My reaction: burn it in your garden. But then this could expose her to a charge under the law that prohibits open burning.

She could set it alight on the stove. Oh no, she said, the house could incinerate as the flames devour its 247 pages; and the insurance company will repudiate the claim for this wilful arson.

How about throwing the book in the recycle bin? But what if some passer-by retrieves it? He or she could be charged for possession of a banned book. And my friend is traced as the disposer of the book. She could then be charged as an accomplice. Under our law an accomplice faces the same punishment as the perpetrator. Read more

Pua: Book bans are the actions of a ‘communist-like’ regime

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

PJ Utara MP Tony Pua says banning of Zaid Ibrahim’s book shows the immense and arbitrary power that the Printing Presses and Publications Act holds.

PETALING JAYA: Tony Pua has called the government’s action to ban a book by Zaid Ibrahim as akin to that of a totalitarian communist-like regime.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP was referring to the decision by the home ministry last month to ban Zaid’s book “Assalamualaikum: Observations on the Islamisation of Malaysia”, under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPA).

“As usual, the only official reason given for this ban is that the book is ‘likely to be prejudicial to public order as well as public interest and is likely to alarm public opinion’.

“This book joining the list of books previously banned by the government is proof of Putrajaya’s outright disregard for freedom of expression and ideas in Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

Last Thursday, the home ministry confirmed that a Federal Government gazette published on Dec 19 said the book, “Assalamualaikum: Observations on the Islamisation of Malaysia” had been banned. The order was signed by the home minister on Dec 4.  Read more

Keep online speech free — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sun Daily

BY GURDIAL SINGH NIJAR
(Deputy President, HAKAM)

FORTY-SIX people are facing possible imprisonment and fines for sending online messaging to others. Through tweets, SMS, WhatsApp, blogs and the like. Cartoonists, politicians, activists and the like have all been hauled up.

This is under section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. It is a crime to send a public electronic message that is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person. The offender can be jailed for up to one year or fined RM50,000 or both; as well as a further fine of RM1,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction.

How really can you measure whether or not a message is annoying or menacing? And who decides? These terms are not defined. Nor any criteria spelt out to guide people.

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Freedom of speech in Malaysia — Emmanuel Joseph

Source: The Malaysian Insight

BY EMMANUEL JOSEPH

MALAYSIA often promotes itself as a democracy, with all its hallmarks of fair and free elections, freedom of religion, and of course, freedom of speech. Believers of this often quote Article 10 of the Federal Constitution as evidence of these rights – Clause 1a guarantees freedom of speech and expression, 1b, freedom of association and 1c, freedom of assembly.

But skeptics would point out the qualifying statement immediately preceding those declarations, followed by three lengthier clauses that significantly limit those rights, makes them rights far from absolute.  Read more

Court frees activist Adam Adli from 2015 KitaLawan rally charge

Source: Malay Mail Online

Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim joined his first protest when he was 12 years old. — Picture by Choo Choy May.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — A magistrates’ court today acquitted activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim of an unlawful street protest charge stemming from a #KitaLawan rally in 2015.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya, who represented Adam Adli today, confirmed that magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abdul Wahid acquitted her client of the charge under the Peaceful Assembly Act.

“He just read out, saying the prosecution had failed to prove prima facie case against the defence,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today. Read more