Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian Bar has
asked the government to repeal the country`s authoritarian
Sedition Act as it severely encroaches upon "freedom of
expression" and exercise of fundamental civil liberties
enshrined in the Constitution.
In a statement Bar president K Ragunath asked the
Government to demonstrate its commitment to the democratic
process by encouraging open discourse, Star online said.
"The Malaysian Bar has been a staunch and unfaltering
advocate of the repeal of the Sedition Act of 1948," Ragunath
was quoted as saying.
He said the Bar considered the act to be an
authoritarian, repressive and anachronistic law that has long
outlived any perceived utility it ever have had.
He added that the act had severely encroached upon
the public enjoyment and exercise of fundamental civil
liberties enshrined in the Constitution.
The Bar president claimed that the act had been
wielded selectively, to prosecute, in particular, those whose
viewpoints differ from the establishment.
"Freedom of expression is an indisputable hallmark of
any democracy and must be safeguarded jealously if Malaysia is
to lay any claim to being a democratic nation," he said.