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MALAYSIAN PM DENIES PRESSURED BY UMNO TO MAINTAIN SEDITION ACT

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak today denied that he had been pressured by his party to renege on his 2012 promise to repeal the Sedition Act 1948. 
The prime minister told a press conference after the Umno general assembly today that he had decided to retain the act after taking into account "rising tensions" in the country.  
"No. What we want is for protection. My intention was to guarantee peace in this country, so that there would be no problems between the races in our country,"‎ Najib said when asked if he had been pressured into maintaining the act. 
"When mulling over this, many incidents were going on that were making people pressured, when religion, the rulers and the position of Malays were being questioned. 
"It created a situation where tension was rising in the country. So we had to do something to prevent something bad from happening." 
Earlier in his speech, Najib said amendments to the Sedition Act would be tabled at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting. 
  • He said that the controversial law was needed to move the country forward and necessary to curb inter-ethnic tension that was stalling progress. 
  • “If we keep bickering among ourselves, there won’t be time to do anything else," he said.
  • Two days ago, Najib said the law would be retained with additional provisions that would make it a crime to insult Islam and other faiths. 
  • Another provision would prohibit talk on Sabah and Sarawak leaving Malaysia. 
  • However, Najib maintained that he had not retreated from his moderate position, noting that the law was to cater to all Malaysians rather than his core support base, the Malays. 
  • "I've always maintained that this law is good for Muslims and non-Muslims, Malays and non-Malays. Because it will protect all. It's protection for all. 
  • "We don't want any religious or ethnic conflict to happen in this country. We will do our utmost to prevent it from happening."
He also insisted that reforms had taken place under his administration, and pointed to the repeal of the Internal Security Act as an example. The law provided for detention without trial. 
"There are other countries still having ISA. So we have done away with ISA. 
In other words, we have gone a long way in terms of making this country have more space within the context of a democratic society. 
"But there cannot be absolute freedom. It has to be freedom on the basis that you protect certain fundamental rights," said Najib.

Source: The Malaysian Insider
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