KUALA LUMPUR: A government backbencher today suggested for the government not to repeal the Sedition Act 1948, and instead amend it according to the current situation.
Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz (pix) (BN-Padang Rengas) said the Act which was first introduced by the British government in 1948, is still relevant today, especially in the context of maintaining racial and religious harmony in the country.
“Some say the Sedition Act is old or ‘ancient’ since 1948, and it is now already 2020. We can make amendments (to the Sedition Act 1948) to suit the current situation,“ he said while debating the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat, today.
The Bill was tabled for second reading today to apply for additional expenditure on services this year following the restructuring of several ministries, the establishment of several new ministries, and the dissolution of one ministry in line with the formation of a new Cabinet on March 10, 2020.
Mohamed Nazri said a special committee could be set up to look into the need to strengthen and improve the Sedition Act.
Meanwhile, Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Bersatu-Beaufort) said that harmony was important for a country with a multiracial and multireligious community.
Citing the Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation and the Lahad Datu invasion incidents in Sabah, she said the events should be taken as lessons on the importance of unity, patriotic spirit and national sovereignty, so as not to be deceived by foreign propaganda and elements.
She said some countries were destroyed as a result of being influenced by external elements with their own agenda.
“The countries are now shattered, and its people are now in a difficult situation and do not feel the harmony that was once felt before. We do not want this to happen in our country,” she said.
Azizah said Malaysian unity was something special that needed to be protected to ensure that the country remained known as a multi-racial nation that lived in harmony, regardless of whether they were in the Peninsula, Sabah or Sarawak.
The issue of unity also attracted the attention of Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (PH-Kulim Bandar Baharu) who emphasised the importance of unity in Malaysia’s multi-racial political landscape.
“Malaysia is plural in nature (in terms of) culture, religion and language ... so we need to look at the spirit that we want to bring about as the foundation of this unity, especially with the formation of a new ministry, the Ministry of Unity.
“We (during the Pakatan Harapan-rule) accepted political agreements, we upheld the royal institution, Islam as the religion of the Federation, accepted Article 153 and Bahasa Melayu as the official language. Similarly, when we created Pakatan Harapan on Sept 23, 2016, the basis was the same,” he said.
The Dewan Rakyat session continues Monday. -Bernama