KOTA KINABALU (Bernama) – A Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) senior lecturer has proposed considering the views of all segments of society in reviewing provisions in the Sedition Act 1948 that is to be retained.
Dr Zaini Othman said it was good if the act was retained in the interest of the country and people.
“However, if it is to be used in the interest of (any) political party, that constitutes abuse,” he told Bernama when contacted over the announcement by Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the ongoing Umno General Assembly that the Sedition Act that was to have been abolished would be retained instead.
Najib had said that the act would also be strengthened to safeguard the sanctity of Islam and prevent other religions from being insulted as well as to provide for tougher penalties against anyone instigating Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia.
The prime minister had also said that the act would prohibit the uttering of words and acts of a seditious nature and insulting to Islam, the Malays and the Rulers.
Dr Zaini said a developing nation like Malaysia, with its racial diversity, needed the Sedition Act to safeguard national sovereignty.
He said any move to instigate Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia was tantamount to sedition.
However, he said, calls for relations between the two states and the federal government to be improved did not constitute sedition because a democratic country should provide for forums for expression and discussion of views.