PETALING JAYA: The Government will not rush into replacing the Sedition Act with a new law before studying all relevant aspects, including the importance of having preventive measures, says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The Prime Minister said any proposed law should be better than the current one, especially in increasing harmony and peace as well as preserving national stability.
“The country still needs laws that can serve as a deterrent to ensure that the country’s peace, harmony and stability continue to be protected,” he said in a statement.
Najib reiterated his assurance that any Government decision on whether to maintain, abolish or replace the Sedition Act would take into account sentiments from across the country’s multi-racial society.
“Whatever decision the Govern-ment makes will not cause this country’s multi-racial society to feel insecure or threatened,” he said.
Najib stressed that the new law should be able to curb radical and fanatical groups as well as racial and religious extremists.
The freedom given to the people, he said, should also be in balance with laws that protected long-held principles.
“These include provisions in the Federal Constitution on the position of Islam and the Malay Rulers as well as the special rights and privileges of the Malays.”
The Prime Minister said consultations would be held with all stakeholders, including groups representing Malay interests which he said were clearly worried with the suggestion to abolish the Act.
“A decision will only be made after completing the consultation process,” he added.
Najib said there were four views on what to do with the Sedition Act 1948.
The first is a request by some people who wanted the Sedition Act to be preserved with some minor amendments, the second was to abolish the Act, and the third to replace the Sedition Act with a National Harmony Act.
He said the fourth view was to introduce a National Harmony Act and maintain the Sedition Act.
Najib said the drafting of any proposed new law would only start after there was public consensus, including in Sabah and Sarawak, and when a decision had been reached on the basic principles of the new legislation.
He said the drafting of the National Harmony law would be done by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and that any draft law prepared by others would not be valid and would not be accepted.