The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Malaysia calls for the urgent reinstatement of the moratorium on the Sedition Act, its immediate repeal and a stronger visible commitment by the Pakatan Harapan government to the reform agenda upon which it was elected.
We are appalled to hear that Sevan Doraisamy, executive director of human rights organisation Suaram, was among the first to be called in for questioning once the moratorium was lifted.
Sevan was quoted as saying that he was most likely being questioned in relation to a solidarity event organised to protest against the investigation of human rights lawyer and activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri. Fadiah had also been called in for questioning. Police, however, did not inform Sevan of the reason for the investigation.
As the CIJ has repeatedly said, the Sedition Act is a colonial-era law which needs to be repealed. It was designed to prevent legitimate discussion about national institutions and these selective investigations illustrate the dangers that it poses.
We call on the Pakatan Harapan government to show that the reform agenda is not dying, that it remains committed to governance based on freedom of expression, freedom of information and respect for universal human rights.
Sonia Randhawa is director of the Centre for Independent Journalism.