Calls for Sarawak secession — Do not abuse freedom of speech, says Baru

Baru (third left) with other PKR leaders at Sibu Airport.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, July 6: While there is freedom of speech in this country, it can be seditious if things go overboard, said Works Minister Baru Bian.

He reminded the people that discussing on Sarawak rights is not against the law but causing public disorder could merit prosecution.

“Freedom of speech is restricted by other laws. You have a guaranteed right under the Constitution. You have freedom of speech but if you go beyond the boundary, there are other laws that can be used against you.

“That is the very nature and common understanding of the law,” he told DayakDaily when met at Sibu Airport today.

The state PKR chief and Selangau MP was en route to Belawai to attend a Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Gawai Dayak celebration organised by the Malaysian Bumiputera Contractors Association, Sarawak Chapter.

Baru was commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s recent statement in Parliament that actions will be taken under the Sedition Act against those who call for Sarawak’s secession from Malaysia if they jeopardised public order and security.

“Just merely talking about Sarawak’s right, it is not against the law but you can go beyond the line by the way you say things that could cause public disorder.  It is what I mean by going beyond the line,” he continued.

When pressed for his opinion on the issue of Sarawak independence or secession, Baru said: “My opinion is by raising just the issue, it is not seditious. But you can be seditious, if you go beyond the line. It is a question of fact.”

On the lack of funding of four flyovers along Kuching-Serian Road, which delayed the completion dates, he revealed that it was not due to financial issue.

“It is not a matter of money. I think we have to look at the whole thing. There is allocation for that and there is a budget,” he explained, while adding that his ministry will issue a statement in response to the matter. — DayakDaily