With regards to the peaceful protest by Bar Council to call for the repeal of Sedition Act 1948 this morning, Gerakan Deputy Youth Chief, Andy Yong Kim Seng reiterated Gerakan’s strong stance against the Sedition Act. He asserted that Gerakan calls for the repeal of Sedition Act and replace with the proposed National Harmony Act as the party holds firmly that sedition charges stifle the freedom of speech and expression which does not conform to the Federal Constitution (FC).
Andy Yong, who himself is a practicing lawyer and participated in the peaceful protest this morning along with his legal counterparts was proud that Gerakan National President cum Minister in Prime Minister’s Department YB Dato’ Mah Siew Keong has been given the honour to represent the Prime Minister YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in meeting representatives from Bar Council and receive the memorandum calling for the repeal of Sedition Act. He stressed that the honourable task was a strong testament to Gerakan’s resolve and efforts in calling for the repeal of Sedition Act.
“Freedom of speech is guaranteed under Article 10 of the FC, it must be respected with no compromise. Although freedom is not absolute, the government has the very responsibility to foster a social environment that enables the rakyat to express themselves comfortably within the ambit of the law, we strongly believe that it is time we do away with the Sedition Act. Most importantly it should not deter intellectual discourse” said Andy Yong.
Andy Yong reckoned such an unjust law would be open to abuse with public concerns remained on selective enforcement and prosecution. He held strongly that legal instruments must not be used to defeat rational and legitimate speeches. He stated that Gerakan will continue to throw support behind PM Dato’ Sri Najib’s call to repeal Sedition Act and replace with the proposed National Harmony Act. He called for an immediate moratorium be imposed on Sedition Act with no further charges be made pending the ongoing drafting of National Harmony Bill.
The government to reiterate its decision not to establish IPCMC may need a thorough consideration. Deputy National Youth Chief of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, Andy Yong Kim Seng urges the government to look into a larger picture and most importantly to have a real political will to transform.
“Whether it is EAIC or IPCMC, what the people want is integrity, accountability and credibility of the police force. So it is not so much issues of human rights or jurisdiction but to restore public confidence of an independent body” emphasized Andy.
Andy further said “If the country is committed to maintain an effective mechanism and to move forward, EAIC has obviously failed to perform so far. Very few cases resulted in disciplinary action under EAIC, not to mention the negative perception of the public at large”.
Previously the government rejected similar calls due to several reasons; among others being “unconstitutional” and restriction of police power in carrying out its duties. To this Andy commented “In my opinion, contrary to the above reason, with the establishment of IPCMC it is actually consistent with Article 140 of the Federal Constitution in relation to the Police Force Commission and will likely to deter misconduct of the few bad apples (as commonly said) in the police force”
“The gist of the Royal Commission Report in 2005 in relation to IPCMC are to investigate complaints of the police personnel in order to prevent and investigate corruption and other serious misconducts. In short to improve police integrity and build public confidence. So if members of the EAIC are appointed from “within” the government or the same agency, how can the public expect independence?” added Andy.