Wan Ji’s detention: Stop pussyfooting and abolish Sedition Act

Wan Ji’s detention: Stop pussyfooting and abolish Sedition Act

KAJANG: Several social activists and civil liberty groups poured scorn at Pakatan Harapan for its failure in abolishing the draconian Sedition Act 1948.

This came after Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin was slapped with a one-year imprisonment yesterday by the High Court for making seditious remarks against the Sultan of Selangor seven years ago.

Speaking at a solidarity gathering outside of the Kajang prison yesterday, Suaram coordinator Amir Abd Hadi called out the Pakatan government to honour their promise and abolish the Sedition Act.

“The man who went to prison today are among the people responsible for getting you in public office.

“It is important that the government keeps their pledge as listed in their manifesto to abolish the Sedition Act,’’ said Amir.

Also present at the solidarity gathering were from Malaysia Muda, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Bersih 2.0, Suara Rakyat Malaysia, student activists and friends of Wan Ji.

Hurling brickbats at Pakatan, Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said that Wan Ji’s incarceration was proof that the government was not really interested in abolishing the Sedition act.

“Pakatan is not committed to abolish the Sedition Act and it seems like there is no intention to uphold the freedom of expression as stipulated under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“Despite the country achieving independence in 1957, we have yet to be free as this draconian law that is left by the British is still here,’’ he said.

Saudara Social Cultural Research (Saudara) executive director Lim Hong Siang said that while Wan Ji’s ideas may seem to be weird at times, the state should learn to respect his views in the spirit of upholding freedom of expression.

“We know Wan Ji’s ideas are weird; some are progressive, some are too forward for some.

“We can criticise his ideas, calling it as immature or whatever. However, that is a given thing in a developing society.

“We hope that one day no one would be punished for airing their views. History has shown that civilisation will only progress if we challenge the status quo,’’ said Lim.

Wan Ji was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and was sentenced to nine-month Jail in April last year by Sessions Court.

The High Court in Shah Alam yesterday rejected Wan Ji’s appeal against his conviction for making seditious remarks against Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

High Court judge Abdul Halim Aman also increased Wan Ji’s original prison sentence from nine months to one year.

Responding immediately to the matter, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim described Wan Ji’s sentencing as being too harsh and inconsistent with democratic reforms.

By G Vinod