Sedition Act (Malaysia)

Sedition Act (Malaysia)

Sedition Act (Malaysia)

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The Sedition Act in Malaysia is a law prohibiting discourse deemed as seditious. The act was originally enacted by the colonial authorities of British Malaya in 1948. The act criminalises speech with "seditious tendency", including that which would "bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against" the government or engender "feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races". The latter provision includes the questioning of certain portions of the Constitution of Malaysia, namely those pertaining to the Malaysian social contract, such as Article 153, which deals with special rights for the bumiputra (Malays and other indigenous peoples, who comprise over half the Malaysian population).

History

The law was introduced by the British in 1948, the same year that the autonomous Federation of Malaya came into being, with the intent of curbing opposition to colonial rule. The law remained on the statute books through independence in 1957, and the merger with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore that formed Malaysia.

The Federal Constitution of Malaya and later Malaysia permitted Parliament to impose restrictions on the freedom of speech granted by the Constitution. After the May 13 Incident, when racial riots in the capital of Kuala Lumpur led to at least 200 deaths, the government amended the...
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