Amnesty: laws used for political purposes
Amnesty International says the arrests of the Malaysian Insider publisher and four journalists “is just the latest example of the outdated Sedition Act being used as a politically motivated tool to muzzle critics and to silence public debate”.
The human rights group said the escalating “sedition” clampdown on the political opposition and activists in Malaysia — at least 29 people so far — points to an expanding human rights black hole, where freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are severely restricted, even precluded: space for dissent and debate in the country is rapidly shrinking under the guise of maintaining public order, punishing “sedition” and preventing “terrorism”.
Reviewing the frequent arrests in the past few months, Amnesty said a common thread was the use of “vaguely worded laws to fit a particular – often politically motivated — purpose”.
The proposed Prevention of Terrorism Act, reportedly for the control of persons engaged in acts of terrorism and related matters, was problematic as it allows for the detention of suspected terrorists without trial and without judicial review.
Amnesty International said it had “long expressed concerns about Malaysia’s oppressive laws which allow for arbitrary and/or preventive detention, in the same way that it has expressed its increasing concern over the use of existing laws to repress peaceful dissent. Such laws do not comply with international human rights law and contradict commitments made by the Malaysian authorities to the international community.”