PM assures Malaysians about Sedition Act

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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government would exercise utmost prudence in deciding whether to maintain the Sedition Act 1948 or introduce the National Harmony Act.

“Just have trust that the process will be done judiciously and transparently, albeit in a controlled environment.

“Hopefully as a result, the country would emerge more harmonious, formidable, stable and successful,” he said at the monthly gathering for the Prime Minister’s Department on Sept 08 (Monday).

Najib stressed that replacing or introducing a law would rationally require the new Act to be more effective than the existing one.

“In this regard, we will deliberate with the stakeholders, and surely also with groups representing the Malays,” he said.

He said he understood the Malay community’s needs to voice their views on the Sedition Act, as it also has relevance to Islam, Malay Rulers and Article 153 of the constitution.

Hence, said Najib, the Malays and non-Malays have no cause to feel anxious, less assured or threatened by the government’s decision on the Sedition Act and National Harmony Act.

“If not for the better, why should we take such a step? It is just not rational to initiate new measures, if they are not for improvement.

“That’s why the processes involved must be proper, so that at the end of it, the decision is translated into a much improved situation,” he said.

He said the people must also be sensitive to the fact that the government would not rashly make decisions that would be an injustice or provoke the ire of any community in the country.

At the gathering, the prime minister also said he was thankful for the national pride and patriotism, evident during the 57th Merdeka Day celebrations, even as sorrow overwhelmed the country following the two Malaysia Airlines tragedies.

The theme that was chosen for this year, “Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta” [Malaysia: here, where love begins], was apt and has become a popular expression, he noted.

He also said the “oneness” during the one minute silence at the ceremony to honour the victims of flight MH17 on Aug 22, reflected the unity in harmony of the Malaysian people. — Bernama

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Sept 09, 2014.