Sedition Act: 367 probed, only five charged since 2018, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: There were 367 investigations opened under the Sedition Act 1948 from 2018 to last year with only five cases tried in court, the Dewan Rakyat was told.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that in the five cases, only three were sentenced under the Act.

Two cases each were charged in court in 2021 and last year, and one in 2018, he said in a written reply dated Monday (Feb 27).

The highest number of investigations was in 2020, involving 117 probes, followed by 84 in 2021, 66 in 2017, 54 in 2022 and 46 in 2019.

Saifuddin was responding to Syerleena Abdul Rashid (PH-Bukit Bendera), who asked about statistics on investigations, charges and sentences under the Sedition Act in the last five years.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin said 24 deaths in custody were recorded from Jan 1 to Dec 31 last year, with 11 occuring in police lockups and the rest happening while detainees were receiving treatment at a hospital or clinic, or on the way to a medical facility.

For 2021, Saifuddin said the number was 46, of which 14 taking place in lockups, and 32 while detainees receiving treatment or on the way to a medical facility.

Saifuddin said his ministry is preparing an amendment to the 1965 Lockup Rules to ensure better management of lockups and improved basic rights of detainees.

Saifuddin also said the police force was preparing SOP for the management of detainees in lockups and is in the process of installing CCTV in 684 police lockups across the country.

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