KUALA LUMPUR: Any criticism of the government or Cabinet ministers is permissible – as long as it is not personal in nature, says Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
"We do not stop any individuals from voicing criticism of the government or any Cabinet minister … people are free to criticise as long as it is not personal," the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said when replying a question by Wong Shu Qi (PH-Kluang) in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (March 19).
Wong asked whether the government agreed with the recent arrest on an individual who criticised the Prime Minister and the direction taken to ensure freedom of speech while protecting national harmony.
"The Pakatan government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, disagrees with the arrest of individuals who insult the government or any of its Cabinet members," Liew said.
He noted that Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, subject to restrictions under laws related to national security, bilateral ties with other countries, public peace, morality as well as parliamentary privileges.
He added that the freedom of expression is included under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, where people are allowed to hold peaceful gatherings and demonstrations.
To a supplementary question by Ahmad Fahmi Mohamad Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai) on the government's commitment to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 and to stop all investigations under the law, Liew said the police have been ordered to stop such investigations.
On the abolition of the sedition law, Liew said that a final decision has yet to be made as reforms are still underway.
Sabah activist Jufazli Shi Ahmad was arrested by police Saturday (March 16) after a police report was lodged against him for making false accusations against the Prime Minister.
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