PETALING JAYA: Prominent lawyers have criticised Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (pic) for defending the use of the Sedition Act to arrest the brother of Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.
DAP national legal bureau chairman Ramkarpal Singh said Mohd Azis’ remark that the Sedition Act would continue to be used until it is amended or abolished, was “regretted”.
The Bukit Gelugor MP also said that the remark reflects a “lack of political will” on the government in carrying out its election promises.
“Azis’s announcement misses the point that such laws ought not to be used on anyone, regardless of political affiliation as it ought to be a matter of time before they are repealed.
“In fact, the Ministry of Home Affairs ought to make such an announcement forthwith so that government resources are not wasted on investigations into offences which are likely to become obsolete in the near future,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Oct 4).
Ramkarpal said that it was not difficult to repeal the Sedition Act as the move would be supported in Parliament, just like the Goods and Services Tax Act.
“It is an open secret that the Sedition Act was abused in the past to stifle political dissent and by its continued use, the present government may be seen to be no different from its predecessor in this regard,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty advisor N. Surendran took to Twitter to also condemn Mohd Azis’ remark.
“If this fella (person) says this kind of thing, he’s not fit to be a Deputy Minister!
“What nonsense to talk about police SOP (standard operating procedure),” he tweeted.
Surendran added that Azis should get a copy of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto and read it.
Prior to the 14th General Election, Pakatan in its manifesto had pledged to abolish the Sedition Act, as well as the National Security Council Act and Anti-Fake News Act when it came into power.
Earlier, it was reported that Mohd Azis had said that the Sedition Act would continue to be used until it was amended or repealed.
Mohd Azis said this after receiving an explanation from Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun about the arrest of Lokman’s brother, Azman Noor Adam, who was arrested under the Sedition Act.
It is said that Mohamad Fuzi had told Mohd Azis that the police acted according to its SOP after a report was lodged against Azman.
Azman was arrested by the police for spreading images that allegedly insulted Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on social media.
However, Dr Mahathir had said that the arrest should not have happened, adding that he did not mind being insulted by anybody as it did not affect him.