UN experts to Malaysia: Repeal law against dissent


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Mohd Rasfan/AFP

United Nations experts added their voice to the growing call from the international community for Malaysia to stop cracking down on critics using what activists call the draconian and outdated 1948 Sedition Act. They urged the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak to make good on its commitment to the UN Human Rights Council to stop criminalizing and prosecuting the right to free expression. The Sedition Act carries a prison sentence of up to 5 years for vague offenses like expressing “any seditious words,” acting with “seditious tendency” that incite hatred or disaffection of the government or the judiciary, and promoting hostility between different races or classes. In March, Malaysia promised the UN Human Rights Council that it will address international concerns about the law. Yet his ruling United Malays National Organization party is widely viewed as having stepped up its use of the law since a historic loss in the popular vote in the 2013 elections.

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