KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The use of the Sedition Act 1948 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA) has doubled since last year under the Madani government, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) found.
Last year, the Sedition Act was used in 31 incidents while the PPPA was used three times, which increased to 31 and seven this year, said CIJ executive director Wathshlah G. Naidu this morning.
“This number is of course slightly lower than in 2022, however, what we have seen is an increase in the use of the Sedition Act and the PPPA.
“It has doubled since last year,” she said at the launch of CIJ’s ‘Report on the State of Freedom of Expression in Malaysia 2023’.
She said that CIJ lauds the government’s moves towards establishing the Malaysian Media Council, but asserted that the government must allow the council to remain independent.
Meanwhile, CIJ media monitoring and action programme officer Dineshwara Naidu noted that Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) manifesto before the 15th general elections (GE15) had promised the repeal of repressive laws, leading to high expectations of the coalition once it took power a year ago.
“Yes, for sure it’s slightly fewer than the numbers last year but look at how many promises were made, especially in their manifesto, and look at the reality.
“The numbers are not very far (from the number of cases in 2022) and so we still think it’s very much problematic and there is still a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The annual CIJ report was launched today in accordance with Human Rights Day, which is celebrated every year on December 10 to mark the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.
The report aims to objectively outline the progress and shortcomings from this year regarding the freedom of expression environment in Malaysia using data from CIJ’s monitoring efforts.
The government is also celebrating its the anniversary of its first year in power through the Madani Government One Year Anniversary Programme at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium this weekend.