KUCHING, Sept 22: Freedom of speech has its limits but there is no law to prevent academic discussions and debates about freedom and independence in Malaysia.
Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan pointed this out on speaking about freedom and independence in the country.
“The right to freedom and independence is an intrinsic right. This right was recognised by (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohammed when Pakatan Harapan (PH) became the government in 2018,” he said in referring to a report in FreeMalaysiaToday dated Sept 29, 2018.
This intrinsic right, he added, was exercised by Singapore when it unilaterally declared independence on Aug 9, 1965 from Malaysia.
In the report headlined ‘PM: Sabah and Sarawak want autonomy, not independence’, Dr Mahathir acknowledged that there was no provision in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that Sabah and Sarawak could not ask for independence, but he believed the two Borneo states would not do so.
Furthermore, Voon stressed that there was nothing in the Federal Constitution to prevent Sarawak from exiting Malaysia.
“In reply to an ‘exit clause’ in MA63 and in the Federal Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (ICG) chairman Lord Lansdowne, said it was not necessary for such a clause because ‘any state voluntarily entering a federation had an intrinsic right to secede at will’.
“Therefore, there is nothing wrong to speak and debate whether about exit or independence. It is not treason too to speak and debate concerning our rights to freedom and independence,” he said, noting people’s concerns over this issue which has gained momentum daily.
Acts can only be treason if arms or subversion are involved, but Voon highlighted that it could not be subversion if all things are done in a peaceful manner and within the constitutional right of citizens or through the ballot box.
If it is treason or seditious to speak, debate and to seek freedom and independence, he added that Tunku Abdul Rahman from Malaya, and David Marshall and Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore could have been arrested and charged under the Sedition Act 1948 and the Internal Security Act 1960 (which has been repealed and replaced with other similar law).
“Therefore, it will be an abuse of authority if the relevant authorities wish to simply put citizens in prison for speaking and debating about freedom and independence unless they stepped out of the legal boundary.
“The court being an independent body can intervene. The UN Human Rights Commission is also watching against any mistreatment of citizens and against violations of human rights in the country,” he said.
The right to freedom and independence, Voon emphasised, is allowed under the United Nations (UN) Assembly Resolution 1514 that provides the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples.
“Malaysia being a member nation of the UN should respect this right. Many in Sarawak, were against Sarawak becoming part of Malaya before Malaysia was created,” he added. — DayakDaily