‘Many taking advantage of liberal space to make seditious remarks’

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KUALA LUMPUR: Many people are taking advantage of the free environment to express their feelings and thoughts, which has led to a rise in sedition cases in the country, said Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

The deputy home minister said it had become a trend among Malaysians to make remarks that could be deemed seditious.

He said many were taking advantage of the freedom to express their feelings via social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, without thinking about the consequences.

Hiding behind aliases, many have also used the opportunity and space to insult others, he said.

“As what Pak Lah [former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi] once said ... although we have world-class infrastructure, we are stuck with a caveman mentality.

“We should know the limits [to what we can say]. If it sounds hurtful to us, surely it will sound hurtful to others,” he said after launching a seminar at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang yesterday.

Over the past few months, several Pakatan Rakyat representatives have been charged with sedition.

They include Seri Delima assemblyman RSN Rayer, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, Bagan Serai MP N Surendran and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.

On Wednesday, Rayer’s lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said in court that it is now a trend to charge people with sedition.

Dr Wan Junaidi said it is up to the court to decide on the sedition cases, not the government.

“The judges will decide whether what they [those charged under the Sedition Act] said was truly seditious or not.

“And the government will respect the judges’ decisions.” — The Malaysian Insider

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 29, 2014.