Proham is of the opinion that the Sedition Act 1948 is a legislation which was first introduced by the colonial administration to stifle the activities of independence fighters.
While it was not extensively used in Malaya then, the situation was very different in the Indian independence struggle when the then colonial administration used it extensively to arrest and detain Gandhi and other Indian independence fighters.
Proham is of the opinion that the current Sedition Act 1948 is outdated and as promised by the Prime Minister during the GE 13 elections should be repealed like how the ISA and the Emergency Ordinance was.
The recent heighten use of this Act is being viewed as stifling freedom of speech and violation of democratic principles. This can be also seen as weakening the foundations of human rights in Malaysian society. There is also a strong feeling that the Sedition Act is being used now against the opposition elected members of parliament.
Open rational and objective discussions will provide a deeper commitments to core principles of the Federal Constitution. We must recognise that just because an individual raises a question or thought it does not mean that core theme such as religion, language, special position and monarchy will be dismantled.
The Federal Government could institute open discussions through which stronger historical, constitutional and rational interpretation could be provided so as to win public opinion on these matters.
We must be careful that legitimate questions and criticisms on politicians and political parties even those holding public office should not be considered as seditious. This is part of the democratic and political process and these leaders must use the public space to convince the general public. Holding leaders accountable is part and parcel of holding public office in a democracy.
Government must however be more concerned with those who advocate the use of violence and associated with groups locally or internationally.
Proham also reiterates its earlier call to the Federal Government to amend the Mediation Act 2012 and mandate individuals and groups to undergo a mandatory mediation process
It is therefore imperative that in the 2014 Merdeka and Malaysia Day the Federal Government institutes a stronger human rights friendly environment where the rights and responsibilities of citizens are enhanced rather than undermined
Issued on behalf of Proham byDatuk Kuthbul Zaman (Chairman) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Secretary General)
August 31, 2014