Proham Logo

Proham Logo

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stop using repressive laws to stifle criticism, Bar tells Putrajaya

Its president Christopher Leong (pic) said they must not use such an abhorrent piece of colonial-era legislation to protect themselves from fair comment and criticism.

“The Malaysian Bar is appalled by the unrelenting misuse of the Sedition Act 1948 and other laws to stifle speech and expression over the past four weeks," he said in a statement today.

He said the recent reports of lawyer Edmund Bon being under investigation for expressing his legal opinion on matters in the public domain was deplorable.

He said the Bar also noted the prosecution of law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom for offering an opinion on matters connected with the law and the Federal Constitution.

"It is unjustifiable and unacceptable that people are being placed under investigation or charged for expressing opinions or views with regard to or based on the law and the Federal Constitution," he said.

He said lawyers were duty bound by the Legal Profession Act 1976 and the Montreal Declaration of June 1983 to uphold the cause of justice without fear or favour and to assist the public in all matters.
Leong said the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers state that counsel should have the right to freedom of expression, belief and assembly.

He said they have the right to take part in public discussion of matters concerning the law, the administration of justice, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

He said there were also various actions being taken by the authorities under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code against students, an academic, members of civil society, journalists and elected representatives.

"There was also the mass arrest of members of the Penang Voluntary Patrol unit immediately after the Penang State National Day parade," he added.

Leong said these actions had given rise to grave concerns that a culture of intimidation, fear and subjugation is being perpetrated and perpetuated.

On September 2,  Azmi was charged under Section 4(1)(b) and Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 over his comments in a news article headlined "Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told".

Sabah politician David Orok was prosecuted under the same law on September 3 for allegedly insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad on Facebook two months ago.

On September 8, activist Ali Abd Jalil pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to a sedition charge for allegedly belittling the Johor Sultanate and calling for the state's royal institution to be abolished in Facebook postings in January.

He was re-arrested the same day, under the same law, after posting bail, for allegedly insulting the Sultan of Selangor on Facebook in August.

On September 10, Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin claimed trial to a sedition charge for having allegedly insulted the Sultan of Selangor in a Facebook post In November.

Padang Serai MP N.Surendran (PKR), Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, and Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N.Rayer (DAP) have all been charged with sedition.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok (DAP), Batu MP Tian Chua (PKR) and activist Haris Ibrahim are also facing trial for sedition.

– September 18, 2014.
- See more at:

No comments:

Post a Comment