Govt to define insult to monarchy, says PM

12-Jan-2019 Intellasia |
Malay Mail |
6:00 AM

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Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the government will have to “spell out” the action and words that are considered insults to the Malay royal institution that are punishable by law amid controversy over remarks against the monarchy.

Malaysia does not have any lese majeste law, unlike in neighbouring Thailand.

“At the moment, our enforcement officers do not understand what is considered insult, so we need to spell out what sort of actions or words can be construed as insults.

“I have said before that Malaysia now practises freedom of speech.

With this freedom of speech, if you say something is factual, you cannot be prosecuted,” he told a news conference in Putrajaya earlier today that was also broadcast on his Facebook page.

The prime minister’s comment follows the arrest of three Malaysians under the Sedition Act 1948 for posting comments on social media that were deemed to have insulted Sultan Muhammad V after the Kelantan Ruler gave up the Yang di-Pertuan Agong position mid-term.

The arrests have split the country into two groups.

One, comprising Pakatan Harapan supporters, is upset at the ruling coalition for allegedly reneging on its GE14 promise to abolish the colonial-era law.

The other camp are supportive of the crackdown, and have even initiated an online vigilante movement to hunt down those they feel should be investigated, prosecuted and punished for disparaging the monarchy a symbol of the country’s Malay institution.

At a separate news conference earlier today, Law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the government will consider amending existing laws or introducing new ones to “protect” the country’s rulers from insults.

He said the government may refer to the experience in other Commonwealth countries, and particularly the UK which also practises the constitutional monarchy system.


Category: Malaysia


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