Review laws that are too 'restrictive' on freedom of speech

16 Feb 2023 07:29pm
Syahredzan. - Bernama PIC
Syahredzan. - Bernama PIC

KUALA LUMPUR - The unity government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been urged to table amendments to Section 233 of the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 that is seen as 'restrictive' towards the rights and freedom of the public.

Syahredzan Johan (PH-Bangi) said several provisions in the Act needed to be revised in line with the idea of Malaysia Madani that the government is currently pursuing.

He explained the Act allows legal action to be taken against parties who misuse the internet to spread obscene, ugly, discordant, false and threatening content which was widespread.

“My hopes is that during the lifespan of this Parliament session, the unity government will present an amendment to this act (Communications and Multimedia Act 1998).

“It may not be to directly abolish the offences in this section as there are still provisions needed, but (there are) some provisions that must be reviewed and amended,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat, here, on Thursday.

He said it was not appropriate to restrict the people’s freedom of expression especially the issue of their views towards political leaders.

“Unfortunately, the existing laws are blocked by the party in power (government) because the delivery was not liked by politicians,” he said.

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“For example, the Liverpool team is ugly in nature, but nothing in the team should be investigated by police.

“Because it is too broad, we need to re-examine this amendment to consider whether it was in line with the ideas the government is fighting for,” he said.

Syahredzan stated the freedom of speech that was raised is not a basis for someone to freely slander, deceive or incite racist sentiments.