Legal News: Sedition law needed to ensure peace, says minister

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan defended the use of Sedition Act 1948, saying it is needed to preserve peace and harmony in a multiracial society.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the Sedition Act 1948 is needed to preserve peace and harmony in a multiracial society. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 25, 2014.

“Some are insecure while others are aggresive. How do you maintain harmony?” he said in response to a question by former Bar Council chairman Datuk Ambiga, during a law conference on whether the colonial-era law should be repealed.

Ambiga was moderating the International Malaysia Law conference titled “Freedom from Fear – Is it a basic human right?” in Kuala Lumpur today.

Low, who was with three others in a panel discussion, also refuted allegations that the government was trying to instil fear or prevent the people from being critical of the establishment.

He said there must be social justice and no impunity against those who break the law.

“We will use this law to stop anyone from making remarks that incite violence and hatred in our society,” he added.

He said there must be a line between exercising free and responsible speech, and causing chaos in society.

He also said the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers must be independent in carrying out their duties.

“There should be no political interference over who is to be charged and that discretion must be left with the A-G. The judiciary must be allowed to mete out an appropriate sentence,” he said.

Low however, said he was amenable to amendments to the Sedition Act if provisions in the legislation were unclear.

He also said he did not agree with absolute freedom and felt some form of restriction must exist.

“For example, you cannot utter to bring down the government through violent means. Such speech should be curtailed for others to have a peaceful life,” he said. – September 25, 2014.

Published on: Thursday, 25 September 2014

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