Promote Freedom of Expression
AI Malaysia campaigns for the full effect of this right to be enjoyed by all without discrimination and a special focus on abolishing the Sedition Act 1948 and amending restrictive laws such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA 2012) and the Communications and Multimedia Act.
The Malaysian civil society of human rights came under attack in January 2014 when the Ministry of Home Affairs outlawed the majority of the 54 groups that make up the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (COMANGO).
This disturbing assault on the rights to freedom of expression and association was a stark reminder of how the rights of Malaysians were held at a precarious balance between the constitution and the ministry.
Article 10 of the Constitution of Malaysia guarantees Malaysian citizens the right to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. This article entitles citizens to such freedoms as are not restricted by the government, instead of absolutely guaranteeing those freedoms. However, there are several other acts of law that regulate the freedom granted in article 10 and they are the Official Secrets Acts (OSA) 1972, the Sedition Act 1948, and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
The OSA prohibits the dissemination of information classified as an official secret.
The Sedition Act in Malaysia is a law prohibiting discourse deemed as seditious which criminalises speech with “seditious tendency”, including that which would “bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against” the government or engender “feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races”.
The Printing Presses and Publications Act has been criticised for curtailing the freedom of speech in the country by giving total control to the Home Affairs Ministry and keep the ministry’s actions from being called into question.
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