KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – The move to retain the Sedition Act 1948 was made to protect the sensitivities of all Malaysians, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who noted there was no ulterior motive behind the move.
He said retaining the act was not about protecting the rights of Muslims and Malays only, but also those of the non-Muslim and non-Malay communities.
“I want to explain that the act is a protection for all Malaysians, it is a protection of our much cherished social contract that has been embedded in our constitution.
“We must ensure that the enforcement of the Sedition Act must be seen to be fair,” he said when opening the 61st People’s Progressive Party (PPP) annual general meeting.
Najib stressed that action would be taken accordingly against those who disrespected other people’s faiths.
Present were PPP president Tan Sri M Kayveas, senior vice-president Datuk Maglin Dennis D’Cruz and other Barisan Nasional component party leaders.
Najib told his audience that BN’s survival rested with the people of Malaysia.
“This Act cannot ensure Barisan Nasional will be re-elected at the next general election. Only the will and support of the people can ensure that BN remains in power,” he said.
Najib, who is Umno president, had on Thursday announced at the party’s annual general assembly that the Sedition Act would not only be retained but also strengthened to make it more relevant to current times.
He said at today’s function that it was important to retain the Sedition Act to avoid conflicts and acrimonious relations between the different races and religious groups in the country.
“As you know, even developed countries are not immune to racial and religious tensions,” he said, alluding to the race riots in London a few years ago and civil disorder over the past few days stemming from the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in the Missouri town of Ferguson.
He cautioned that similar problems could occur in Malaysia and if that happened, what had been built since the country’s independence could be destroyed overnight.
“We cannot afford to let that happen here,” Najib said.
Najib, who is also BN chairman, outlined moderation, balance, excellence and social justice as the four main thrusts in uniting the BN component parties as well as the public at large.
“Being moderate means we must strive for excellence and at the same time we must ensure that our policies are inclusive for all Malaysians,” he said.
Earlier, Kayveas in his policy speech, expressed full support for Najib’s decision to retain the Sedition Act 1948 which he believed could maintain peace and racial unity in Malaysia. The one-day PPP annual assembly was attended by about 3,000 party delegates and observers from throughout the country.
The delegates will choose from among the candidates vying for the six vice-president posts and 20 party Supreme Council seats, with the results to be announced this evening.