Press Statement – Freedom of Speech to the Defenders of Democracy

PRESS STATEMENT

16 MAY 2016

While I welcome the Court of Appeal decision to set aside the nine-month custodial sentence on Hishamuddin Rais, I would reiterate that he should never have been convicted in the first place for speaking out for freedom and justice.

Isham was only exercising his fundamental rights under the Federal Constitution when he called for fresh elections in the wake of the controversial results of the 2013 General Elections.

Not only is it not a crime but I believe it is incumbent upon all right thinking Malaysians and those who care for the rule of law and democracy to demand for free and fair elections.

We must defend this right if Malaysia is to remain worthy of being considered a democracy. I salute the tireless efforts of Isham and BERSIH to share the light of democracy with all.

Defenders of democracy must be free to speak up, but the draconian Sedition Act remains a barrier to free speech that has been abused time and again to protect a government that is terrified of legitimate criticism. This colonial-era law must be abolished and the remaining charges under the act must be dropped.

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI