Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) are appalled over the arrest and detention of Ronnie Liu and others under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 over alleged posts on their respective social media accounts which is deemed to have insulted the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
Ronnie Liu was released [yesterday] on police bail.
The investigation initiated against Ronnie Liu does not make any sense in the context of the laws and legal thresholds in Malaysia.
Nor does it make any sense for the police to take action and initiate investigations based on a social media posting describing the political situation in another country. It is far-fetched for the police and the ‘public’ complainant to read into the post and insinuate that such a post can be construed as an affront to the Malaysian monarchy.
Furthermore, the Sedition Act 1948 as a legislation is purely domestic in its nature and does not outlaw any commentaries or critique against foreign governments or other entities. The police must explain to the public in what context the Sedition Act 1948 was cited and used to arrest and detain Ronnie Liu.
Failing to do so, the police can only be described as acting arbitrarily and against Malaysian law and Malaysian interest as they have arrested and detained a people’s representative for mere notification of the political development of a neighbouring country without any due justification.
The consistent failure of the police in upholding itself to the highest standard and acting in line with the law makes it clear that a functional Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission must be in place to investigate police misconduct.
We further reiterate our stand that the Sedition Act must be repealed in its entirety as it is a law which is increasingly being arbitrarily abused to silence dissent, even when there is no threat, in whichever manner, to national security or public order.
Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram, Yap Swee Seng is executive director of Bersih 2.0 and Wathshlah Naidu is executive director of the Centre for Independent Journalism