KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to retain the Sedition Act 1948 has nothing to do with keeping Barisan Nasional in power, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Sunday.
Najib, who is also Barisan chairman, said there was no ulterior motive in the move to retain the Act as it could not ensure the coalition would be re-elected in the coming or future general election.
"Because at the end of the day, we realise that the protection of Barisan lies not with the Sedition Act, but with the people of Malaysia," he said in his opening speech at the opening of the 61st annual general meeting of the People's Progressive Party at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here.
On Thursday, Najib, who is also Umno president, had announced at the party’s general assembly that the Sedition Act would not only be retained, but would be strengthened to protect the sanctity of Islam as well as other religions.
Najib reiterated that Barisan would continue to enact policies that are fundamentally moderate in its stance and position.
"I want us to remember that above all, we are a political party. We must have the support of the people.
"And for that to happen, we must ensure that our policies are well accepted by the people," he said.
Najib added that the Sedition Act was not just about the protection of Muslims and the Malays, but extends to all races.
"We will also ensure that the enforcement of the Sedition Act will be fair and according to the law," he said.
Najib said that even developed countries were not immune to religious and racial tension, and as such, laws were needed to maintain the security and stability of the country.
"Not too long ago, there was a racial riot in the heart of London and in the last couple of days, you can see massive demonstrations across the United States, where vehicles and stores where left burning and looting taking place everywhere.
"God forbid, if such a thing happens in Malaysia, it can turn out to be ugly," he added.
According to Najib, the outcome of the Umno general assembly had resulted in the Government's commitment, under Barisan, where all its policies would be based on the principle of Wasatiyyah.
"It means that it will be moderate, balanced and believing in the pursuit of excellence," he said.