Paving the way to reforms.
- Politicians told to accept constructive criticism, even if critics resort to name-calling
- People free to hold demonstrations, provided they abide by the rules
- Government already issued order to police no to use Sedition Act
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said that he disagrees with the action of the police who detained Sabah activist Jufazli Shi who had allegedly “insulted” him.
“I don’t agree with the action taken against those who criticise me. I have informed the police about this. The laws will be studied when Parliament convenes,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet on Friday (May 18).
In a statement posted on the official Langkawi IPD Facebook page on Thursday (May 17), police said that a man was arrested on Wednesday after several NGOs (non-governmental organisations) filed a police report against him the day before.
They had voiced dissatisfaction with his “excessively insulting statements on Facebook against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Islam”.
It is believed to be the first such arrest under the new Pakatan Harapan-led administration.
Several people had condemned the arrest, including Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah who said that such police reports would lead to the creation of a culture of fear that the Pakatan administration does not intend to promote.
According to the police, the man was being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Meanwhile, Liew Vui Keong, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department who is also the de facto law minister, told Dewan Rakyat today that the PH government disagrees with the arrest of individuals who insult the government or any of its cabinet members.
He was responding to Wong Shu Qi (PH-Kluang), who asked about the government’s stand on the arrest of a man for insulting Dr Mahathir.
“We do not stop individuals from voicing out and giving constructive criticism to the government, or to anyone who is part of the administration,” Liew said.
He said politicians must be ready to accept constructive criticism, even if their critics resort to name-calling.
Liew further said people were free to hold demonstrations, provided they abide by the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
To a question by Fahmi Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) on the government’s commitment to abolish the Sedition Act 1948, and to instruct the police to halt all investigations under the Act, Liew said such an order had already been issued.
“The government has already issued an order to the police to not use the Sedition Act against those involved.
“It is still a work in progress. A final decision will be made soon,” he added.
Sabah activist Jufazli Shi Ahmad was picked up by police early Saturday after a police report was lodged against him.