KUCHING: A lawmaker is against the idea of repealing the Sedition Act to be replaced by the National Harmony Bill.
Asajaya assemblyman Datul Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, suggested that the government amend the Sedition Act to rectify the shortcoming.
“Why the need to repeal the sedition Act now? Are there too much flaws in it, or the authority that should be enforcing it does not do its part?
“Personally, I don’t see the need for another Act, whether it is called the National Harmony Act or whatever if its intention is similar,” Abdul Karim told The Borneo Post yesterday.
He said certain clauses might need amendment to meet the changes happening in society, especially those related to social media, but not to repeal the whole Act. National Harmony Bill, if passed would meet the same fate as the Sedition Act, if the government did not enforce it, he said.
The Assistant Minister of Youth Development said whoever was at the helm of the government should not “repeal this and that Act just as they like”, only to regret it after realising there were still flaws in the new Act.
“Introducing a totally new Act is like coming up with a new baby and we don’t need that in Malaysia unless the government feels and takes pride that this or that Act was introduced by the government.
“How many more ‘old’ Acts does the government want to abolish. I still feel the Sedition Act is good.”
Abdul Karim, a lawyer by training, said the country faced a similar situation when the Internal Security Act (ISA) was abolished, and what was important for the government to do now was to ensure that whatever Act had been passed all these years were enforceable.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said the government hoped to present the draft of the National Bill by end of next year.
“It takes time to draft the Bill because civil society has to be consulted and a number of recommendations has been received, including one from the National Unity Consultative Council.”
He said the Sedition Act was introduced to act against those out to disrupt unity among the various races and the rule of the law.
The Act was also used to charge those who uttered or produced seditious statements, materials or action which could disrupt racial harmony in the nation.
“Living in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation one must learn to live in moderation and accept the differences of the other races and faiths.”