The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is dismayed that violations against freedom of expression are still occurring, despite the newly elected government’s stated commitment to bring legislation and practice in line with international human rights standards. Lawyer and activist Fadiah Nakwa Fikri has been summoned for questioning by police under section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act and the broadly worded Sedition Act following the publication of an article interrogating the relationship between political leaders and the monarchies in Malaysia.
Rather than investigating the critical article written by Fadiah, police should focus their efforts on those who suggested that she could be the victim of violence as a result of her writing: On his Malaysia Today website, editor Raja Petra Kamarudin said that Fadiah needed to be wary of “(magically) flying parangs (knives)”, and headlined his rebuttal with the question, “are you inviting bloodshed”.
CIJ has called on the government, in line with the promises in their manifesto, to call for a moratorium into investigations under both the relevant laws, pending their anticipated repeal in the next Parliamentary sitting. We call upon the Government to make clear its stand on freedom of expression; to condemn this investigation; and to speedily institute a moratorium on all oppressive laws pending their repeal and/ or amendment.
CIJ further applauds individuals such as Fadiah who are willing to open up areas for discussion and debate which were previously seen as too “sensitive” for discussion. If Malaysia is to undergo true democratisation critical, respectful discourse and debate needs to be fostered and protected.
Centre for Independent Journalism, Malaysia
12 Jul 2018