Can You Speak”Sedition Act 1948?”


There has been a hype of arguments from both political divides and hoo-haas of late on subjects of interests amongst them,”Oil Royalty of 20 pct , Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)  and many nationalists and activists are turning back to the history pages to stay ahead of the game. 

The people at large in Sarawak and Sabah are in a way being drawn in and most are either confused or being passionate over the oil subject and also have imaginary “Independence from Malaya”‘ tattooed over their foreheads. 

Sarawak and Sabah are not only rich in natural resources and the “black gold” which is lucrative has over the years being used to fund and speed up the development of Malaya in infrastructure while leaving Sabah and Sarawak way behind is coming to haunt the present ruling government. 

Sarawak Pakatan has this to say and we wonder what Sabah Warisan will do,”

“The bottom line is that the 20 percent oil profit now offered will be further and in addition to the present five percent oil and gas royalty.

“This is a positive development, and far better than the arrangement by BN, whereby the five percent royalty stayed stagnant for the past 45 years,”

The people who live on this land where they are born and raised are now asking,” we are shortchanged again and this is mainly due to politics. Why have they suddenly picked up the courage to ask and speak up? Is it because of the NEW GOVERNMENT.?

Surely, they must have some sort of back up and the extraction below has given them something to ponder and question without fear or favour.

We all should read and understand more before we deal in this subject to avoid unnecessary ‘calling‘ from some authorities who might just conveniently misinterpret the political intentions.

Sedition Act 1948 is a pre-merdeka Act enacted by the British Parliament and became Malaysian law. It is an Act that criminalises speech with seditious tendency including bringing hatred and contempt to the government or to incite dissatisfaction against government or engender ill feelings or ill will and hostility among different races.

The definition of speech does not include materials in writing unless published for public consumption that can *incite hatred and dissatisfaction Take note, there is no immunity for MPs speaking in Parliament or in the Legislature. Datuk Mark Koding from Sabah was convicted under the Act for seditious words spoken by him in parliament.
Now, let us examine for practical reasons.

Is representation to Putrajaya by a person, organisations and political parties asking independence for Sabah and Sarawak seditious or an offence under the Act? My humble opinion is that, it could not be seditious. This is because such an action or representation could not amount to inciting dissatisfaction against the government.

Precedents had been set about this. Politicians, the Judiciary and Malaysians at large could not deny Tunku Abdul Rahman went to see the British government to seek independence for Malaya which also years later on led to the formation of Malaysia. Lee Kuan Yew before the formation of Malaysia also flew to London concerning decolonisation issues.

 Likewise our local leaders who were involved in the negotiations for MA63 none of them been charged by the British and Malaysian governments for sedition. I hope we should not confuse ourselves. I am giving an opinion, not a legal advice but I hope constitutional experts and other legal experts will chip in their legal knowledge.

From Voon Lee Shan of Voonslegal, Ex-DUN Batu Lintang


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