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The sentencing of Wan Ji to 1 year imprisonment shows how the implementation of freedom of expression is still loosely established, despite its proclaimed acceptance in our country.
The fact that his detention was under the Sedition Act 1948, which is unmistakably oppressive, is another unwarranted act. The abolition of the Sedition Act has been urged by activists, lawyers and many others, countless times.
A legacy of the British Emergency, it has been abused by the government continuously since the Independence to detain opposition activists and to silence those it would rather not speak.
The ISA (Internal Security Act) was similarly abused to allow arrest without trial and had already been demolished in 2012. Yet whilst PakatanHarapan has continuously promised to repeal oppressive legislation such as the Sedition Act, one year after the election, nothing has been done.
Moreover, Wan Ji’s penalty was increased from eight months to a year after the Attorney General’s Chambers decided to cross-appeal asking for a harsher punishment. Meanwhile the president of PKR, Anwar Ibrahim, claims the punishment as not in keeping with Malaysia’s new democratic system, as it is too harsh of a sentence.
The statement by Anwar serves to depict that in this new democratic system, the law and the freedom of thought and expression should also be improved for the betterment of our country. We should keep developing and striving for improvement.
17 July 2019