Suhakam questions sedition probe on Kadir, Hishamuddin

09 Jun 2018 / 11:38 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has questioned a decision to investigate veteran newsman Datuk A. Kadir Jasin and social activist Hishamuddin Rais under the Sedition Act 1948 for their recent writings.
In a statement, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the human rights commission reminded the authorities that the current government had promised to revoke the many oppressive laws of the previous government, which included the Sedition Act 1948.
"In this regard, the authorities must refrain from using such laws as a means of stifling public debate and right to information. Malaysians must have the right to know and question how government money is spent in the pursuit of transparency and accountability," he said.
No issue should be sacrosanct in the context of our democratisation, added Razali.
Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed that Kadir was being probed under the Sedition Act and for defamation, over a blog post claiming that some RM256.9 million was spent for the upkeep and personal expenditure of Sultan Muhammad V in the 16 months since he became the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, while Hishamuddin was summoned to the Sri Petaling police station here today, to have his statement recorded over an alleged seditious article on his blog.
Meanwhile, former editor-in-chief of Utusan Malaysia, Tan Sri Johan Jaafar said he felt disturbed by the statement made by Mohamad Fuzi that Kadir, who is also a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council member, would be investigated under the Sedition Act.
"There are many other laws that can be applied to charge Kadir, if need be, but to investigate or charge him under the Sedition Act is totally against the spirit of today's Malaysia. Kadir probably got his numbers wrong or made remarks deemed "disparaging" by some people, in his blog posting. But he must be given the chance to prove his facts and must be held responsible for his statement," Johan stated.
"The fact remains that we are living in a different Malaysia today, no citizen must be threatened and intimidated by laws meant to silence those who wish to speak up," he added.
Describing the IGP's statement as further warranting the need for such an archaic, repressive and draconian Sedition Act to be abolished, Johan stressed: "The police must take into account the reform agenda of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to review or abolish laws and provisions under certain laws that are against the spirit of free speech and new openness.
"It is ironic that Kadir, being a member of a party of the ruling coalition that went to the polls promising to abolish such laws, is to be investigated under the Sedition Act."
Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Latheefa Koya has called on the IGP to stop "unnecessary" investigations against Kadir under laws that were pending repeal by the PH government.
"The Barisan Nasional (BN)-era-like prosecutions should stop under the new government. The IGP must realise that Malaysia is no longer governed by the oppressive BN regime which had previously persecuted the people for merely exercising their right to free speech.
"Whoever is affected by Kadir's article should respond in a civilised manner and not resort to lodging police reports.
"It is also possible for these parties to file civil defamation suits but there is certainly nothing criminal in what he had written," she said, adding that the IGP must act consistent with the reform agenda of the new government and not fall back into the BN way of governance. — Bernama

thesundaily_my Sentifi Top 10 talked about stocks