MALAYSIA NOW – October 2014

Ambiga in Sedition Act dragnet

Malaysia’s ongoing sedition dragnet engulfed Ambiga Sreenevasan (pictured right) , formerly co-chair of electoral reform group Bersih and president of the Malaysian Bar Council, with news that police were investigating her under the colonial-era law.

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Lawyers in Oct 16 Walk for Peace to protest Sedition Act

The Malaysian Bar announced a rally against the Sedition Act 1948 on October 16 in Kuala Lumpur. The ‘Walk for Peace and Freedom’ was called after the Bar’s extraordinary general meeting demanded a repeal of the law.

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UN experts offer Putrajaya support to end criminalisation of dissent

Independent UN experts said: “We wish to engage in a dialogue with the Malaysian authorities to end the criminalisation and prosecution of what appears to be legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. We have offered our support to the authorities.”

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Sedition charge ‘may be good thing’ for children’s sake: Ambiga

“Let the truth emerge,” said Ambiga Sreenevasan, as she reportedly faced a Sedition Act probe. “We want the best for our children and we must never be afraid to speak up in (their) defence.” Ms Sreenevasan allegedly said camps run by Malaysia’s National Civics Bureau were “nothing more than brainwashing sessions to turn Malays into racist bigots”.

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Call to burn Bibles meant to defend Islam: Minister

A Malaysian government minister told federal parliament that police did not act against Malay rights group president Ibrahim Ali, who called for the burning of Bibles carrying the word ‘Allah’, because he was merely defending Islam.

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Police inaction puts extremists above the law: Sarawak minister

Muslim extremists were effectively placed above the law when Malaysian police reportedly said a rights leader was merely defending the religion when he called for Bibles carrying the word ‘Allah’ to be burned, a senior Sarawak Barisan Nasional minister stated.

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No Islamic argument for Bible-burning call: Ex-Umno leader

Putrajaya could not justify Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn Bibles on Islamic grounds because the religion did not teach followers to insult other faiths, former deputy higher education minister Saifuddin Abdullah said.

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Govt rewriting history to back race policies: Ambiga

Putrajaya was rewriting history to justify its race-based policies and strengthen its hold on power by driving wedges between the country’s different racial communities.

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Court lifts sedition ban on Zunar’s books

“This is a case where the law of sedition is being used as a convenient peg to control freedom of expression,” the main judgement read. Holding politicians and institutions in “public odium cannot be so conveniently equated with public order, let alone sedition”.

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Malaysiakini.com denied print permit despite court ruling

The government refused to grant a print licence to malaysiakini.com despite a landmark court ruling in the site’s favour, its editor said.

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Jews, Christians may drive ‘new govt’ if laws like Sedition Act go: Muslim NGO

Repealing laws like the Sedition Act could lead to the downfall of the coalition government and breed liberalism. It could also risk the sort of foreign intervention that allowed Jewish and Christian capitalists to shape the country’s policies, a Muslim NGO said.

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General assembly should debate abolishing Chinese schools: Umno division

An Umno division proposed the party’s general assembly debate whether Chinese vernacular schools should be abolished, an Umno news organ reported.

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Abolish Sedition Act – UN says it again

The United Nations (UN) again urged Malaysia to withdraw the Sedition Act 1948, after receiving reports that Putrajaya was increasingly criminalising criticism towards the government or its officials.

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Sedition law deplorable: New York Times

The Malaysian government increasingly employed the Sedition Act, a British colonial era law, to intimidate and silence political opponents, an editorial in The New York Times said.

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The Malaysia Now series is a compilation of published reports, statements and commentary on issues of democracy, citizen rights and electoral reform. Malaysia Now gratefully acknowledges the use of material previously published in The Malaysian Insider, Malaysiakini and Malay Mail Online. Read previous Malaysia Now issues.

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