KUALA LUMPUR: Putrajaya will repeal the Sedition Act and replace it with a new law, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday (Jul 11).
He said in parliament that the government was in the process of drafting a new Bill to replace the Sedition Act 1948.
“Firstly, we have to withdraw the legislation first. For the new law, we are in the process of rearranging it,” he said, adding that this would be done as soon as possible.
Repealing the Sedition Act was one of the major pledges made by the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in the run-up to general elections last May.
Before the May 2018 polls, dozens of politicians and activists were detained and charged under the Sedition Act as former prime minister Najib Razak’s administration worked to clamp down on dissent, especially after news broke in 2015 of a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
After coming to power, PH has come under fire for dragging its feet in repealing the archaic law.
The Sedition Act has been used to convict and punish Islamic preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussain from Parti Keadilan Rakyat – the largest PH component party – over remarks made against the Selangor sultan seven years ago.
Wan Ji served as Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s press officer when he was Penang chief minister.
Earlier this week, the High Court in Shah Alam rejected the preacher’s appeal against his conviction, while increasing his original prison sentence from nine months to a year.