KUCHING: Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has no qualms that the Sedition Act be used on those calling for Sarawak’s secession from Malaysia if they jeopardised public order and security.
The chief minister said those who questioned the country’s sovereignty may complicate situations in the country and could possibly cause public unrest.
“You see, you cannot question the sovereignty of the country. I agree with him (Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad).
“There is a limit to freedom of speech, because when you touch on the sovereignty of the country, it can become a very serious situation (implication),” he told reporters after attending Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme (PESP) here today.
Dr Mahathir told Parliament that actions will only be taken under the Sedition Act against those who call for Sarawak’s secession from Malaysia if they jeopardised public order and security.
This was in line with the government’s policy to promote freedom of speech, he said.
In a written reply to Lanang MP Alice Lau, which was released in Parliament yesterday, Dr Mahathir said: “In line with the government’s policy to promote freedom of speech, as per Item 1 of Article 10 in the Federal Constitution, the use of provisions under the Sedition Act will only be utilised in cases where an act of sedition creates a situation that is beyond control that it jeopardises the security and public order.”
The DAP lawmaker had asked what action the government could take against those who call for Sarawak’s secession and if such secession is allowed by the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Dr Mahathir said several other laws under the Penal Code, including Section 121 for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, could be used if it involved an act or the preparation for an act of violence, such as the use of firearms.
The prime minister’s reply also stated that there was no provision under the Federal Constitution, MA63 or the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report that touched on any rights by Sabah and Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.
The right to secede from Malaysia was also not suggested for the terms in Malaysia’s formation, as could be seen in the Cobbold Commission Report, it continued. — DayakDaily