Pindaan kepada Akta Hasutan adalah zalim: Tiga badan peguam

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Pindaan tersebut memudaratkan kebebasan bersuara dan mengeluarkan pendapat dan mencampuri kebebasan badan kehakiman, ujar tiga badan peguam.

Bar Malaysia, Persatuan Peguambela Sarawak dan Persatuan Undang-Undang Sabah amat terkejut dengan pindaan kepada Akta Hasutan 1948 yang diluluskan oleh Dewan Rakyat pada awal pagi 10 April 2015. (English version below)

Kami amat kecewa kerana Kerajaan Malaysia bukan sahaja telah memungkiri janji yang dibuat pada tahun 2012 untuk memansuhkan Akta Hasutan 1948 dan menggantikannya dengan Akta Keharmonian Nasional, tetapi memperkukuhkan lagi Akta Hasutan 1948 secara substantif dengan peruntukan yang drastik dan menindas.

Akta Hasutan 1948 ialah undang-undang kuno, usang dan regresif yang mesti dimansuhkan. Ia amat menyekat, malah menafikan, kebebasan bersuara dan mengeluarkan pendapat, dan dengan itu menekan hak perlembagaan rakyat Malaysia. Ia bertentangan dengan demokrasi, keadilan dan hak asasi manusia.

Pindaan kepada Akta Hasutan 1948 adalah tamparan hebat kepada kedaulatan undang-undang di Malaysia, dan menyokong tanggapan umum bahawa kita sedang menjunam menjadi sebuah negara autoritarian dan tidak bertoleransi. Ruang demokrasi untuk wacana yang terbuka, bermakna dan mantap telah dijadikan lebih kecil secara mendadak.

Pindaan tersebut mengukuhkan kebimbangan bahawa had kebebasan bersuara dan mengeluarkan pendapat ditentukan oleh pihak-pihak dalam masyarakat kita yang tidak terbuka kepada komen negatif atau idea-idea yang bertentangan, atau mereka yang mudah tersinggung atau marah. Ini memupuk persekitaran yang tidak bersederhana dan tidak bertoleransi.

English version:

The Malaysian Bar, the Advocates’ Association of Sarawak and the Sabah Law Association are appalled by the amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 passed by the Dewan Rakyat in the early hours of 10 April 2015.

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We are extremely disappointed that the Malaysian Government has not only reneged from the promise made in 2012 to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with the National Harmony Act, but has substantially strengthened the former with drastic and oppressive provisions.

The Sedition Act 1948 is an archaic, obsolete and regressive law that must be abolished. It severely restricts or even extinguishes the freedom of speech and expression, and hence tramples on the constitutional rights of Malaysians. It is the antithesis of democracy, justice and human rights.

The amendments to the Sedition Act 1948 have dealt a crippling blow to the rule of law in Malaysia and lend weight to the widely held public perception that we are becoming an intolerant authoritarian state. The democratic space for frank, meaningful and robust discourse has been palpably reduced.

The amendments reinforce the concern that the limits to freedom of speech and expression are to be determined by those in our society who are not open to adverse comments or contrary ideas, or who are easily offended or angered. This nurtures an environment of intemperance and intolerance.

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