It looks as if it doesn’t rain but it pours for Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan, who is now being investigated for sedition alongside Klang MP Charles Santiago.
This development is disturbing as their alleged comments after a court verdict appear to have been criminalised. This goes against the norm as few would have deemed their views problematic or “seditious”.
The Federal Court had found Malaysiakini guilty of contempt of court over several readers’ comments and imposed a hefty RM500,000 fine on the news portal.
This news was much reported in the media, both local and foreign. Local and international NGOs and even foreign embassies in Malaysia expressed concern.
To single out Steven Gan and Charles Santiago for their comments is baffling.
We call on the relevant authorities to desist from pursuing action that can only be described as authoritarian and selective, as many others have also commented on the issue. Such actions will also erode our global press freedom ranking.
We also note that Section 3(1)(c) of the Sedition Act was deleted in 2015, effectively removing “to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Malaysia or in any State” as a seditious tendency.
Our collective energy should be focused on tackling the many challenges brought about by the pandemic.
Let’s not waste our resources on things that shouldn’t even deserve our attention such as the police reports against these two individuals.Aliran executive committee
22 February 2021