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Episode 29: Freedoms of Speech, Assembly, and Association in Malaysia



1.0 Introduction


In contemporary times, there's a common presumption that most of the pillars of freedom—speech, assembly, and association—are universally upheld, forming the foundation for vibrant and functional societies. Malaysia, like many nations, has enshrined these fundamental rights within our federal constitution. These articles ensure Malaysians the liberty to express their views and opinions without fear. 


Freedom of speech can be seen as one of society's most cherished rights. George washington in the Newburgh address mentioned: “for if men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter,which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of mankind; reason is of no use to us-the freedom of speech may be taken away-and dumb & silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter. This sentiment resonates globally, as the importance of freedom of speech has been emphasised  time and again. 


         In Malaysia, the right to freedom of speech is enshrined in Article 10(1)(a) of the federal constitution, which states that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression. Speech encompasses not only verbal expression but also written, artistic, and symbolic forms of communication. This right is fundamental as it allows for the exchange of varying viewpoints, encourages public discourse, and holds governments accountable. Without freedom of speech, individuals would be deprived of a crucial way for ensuring transparency, accountability, and progress in society.


The segments below will be discussing the complications of applying these fundamental rights.


2.0 Legal Framework in Malaysia


2.1 Freedom of Speech, Assembly, and Association in the Constitution


Freedom of speech, assembly, and association is a given right to Malaysian citizens as it is entrenched in Article 10(1) of the Constitution. 


The Right of Peaceful Assembly is a fundamental human right that enables individuals to express themselves collectively and to participate in shaping their societies. While often overshadowed by the right to freedom of speech,the importance of the right to assembly cannot be overstated as the right to express views and wishes for change through peaceful protest lies at the heart of any democratic society. Freedom of of Assembly, which is found in Article 10(1)(b) of the constitution, states that all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. This right essentially allows people to assemble peacefully to express their opinions or to engage in collective action for a common purpose.While the discussion on the right of peaceful assembly is largely centered around the right to peaceful protest, it must be emphasised that this right also allows people to gather for religious or cultural events,which is essential for community building. 


Article 10(1)(c) of the Constitution provides that all citizens have the right to form associations. Essentially, this article allows individuals to form or participate in associations or groups of their preference with others, without intervention from the government. Freedom of Association is significant for different groups for multiple purposes. An example would be workers forming worker unions to prevent exploitation.


As with many other fundamental rights given under the Constitution, it comes with several limitations to it. The Constitution has given Parliament power under Article 10(2) to impose restrictions on matters concerning the interest of Federation security, international relations, public order, or morality, and for the protection of Parliament or any Legislative Assembly’s privileges or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence, as they see fit.  An example of such legislation would be section 4(1)(b)&(c) of the Sedition act 1948, which prohibits individuals from uttering seditious words or printing, publishing, selling, offering for sale, distributing or reproducing any seditious publication. As for the right to form associations, it is also limited by any law relating to labour or education according to subsection (3). For instance, section 5(1) of the Societies act 1966 imposes restrictions on the right to form association by granting the minister the discretion to declare any society unlawful. To elaborate further, subsection (4) permits Parliament to pass laws restricting these freedoms on questioning “sensitive matters” namely rights, status, position, privilege, sovereignty, or prerogative established or protected by the provisions of Part III, Article 152,153 or 181.


2.2 Other Relevant Laws and Regulations


Besides the limitations and restrictions mentioned in the Constitution, there are several other relevant statutes covering and posing limitations on freedom of speech, assembly, and association. 


Firstly, we can see under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, its purpose was to fulfil the requirement to control an increasingly convergent communication and multimedia industry.  Even so, this act has been allegedly used to criminalise those who are exercising their freedom of speech and expression. An example of this is Section 233 which deals with improper use of network facilities or network services and has been used for politically driven purposes and charged the civilians who criticised the politicians. This specific section has been called many times by the lawyers for a review to uphold people’s freedom of speech and expression. Not only that, other sections in this Act also restrict these freedoms such as section 211 which restricts application service providers from releasing what is deemed as offensive content. 


Moreover, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is one of the controversial Acts that has been called to be repealed several times due to being used to strike down those exercising their freedom of speech. For instance, Section 7(1) of this Act has granted the power of discretion to Minister to ban any publications containing any media that are prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to the public order, and in the case of Mohd Faizal Musa v Menteri Keselamatan Dalam Negeri, whereby some Islamic books has been banned due to this section but it was then held the ban to be illegal because it was not prejudicial to public order.


Besides the aforementioned Act, another controversial Act that has been said to threaten freedom of speech and expression is the Sedition Act of 1948.  This act is a relic from the colonial era where it criminalises any act done with seditious tendencies regardless of someone’s intention. It must also be noted that Article 149 permits and validates this Act. Also, the 2015 Federal Court case of PP v Azmi Sharom, ruled that this Act was constitutional and aligned with Article 10(2)(a). In this case, Professor Azmi was charged under Section 4(1)(b) and alternatively, 4(1)(c) of this Act for his remarks made in an article about a political crisis in Selangor. However in recent years, many have called for the Act to be repealed and replaced with national harmony bills and some of the United Nations (UN) experts also urged Malaysia to withdraw this Act.


3.0 Judicial Interpretation of Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Association in Malaysia


3.1 A Look Into Cases Involving Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Association


The Malaysian courts over the decades have taken to interpret the meaning and boundaries of freedom of speech and expression as entrenched in Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution as well as freedom of assembly and association as per Article 10(2) and (3) of the Federal Constitution respectively. First and foremost, in the case of Public Prosecutor v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors, the accused was convicted of sedition under the Sedition Act 1948 when he accused the Government of providing ‘comfortable, shady places for one group of citizens, and hot uncomfortable places for other groups of citizens.’ Raja Azlan Shah J (as His Majesty then was) opined that the right to freedom of speech is not self-subsistent or absolute as it is simply the right which any person has to say, write or publish what he pleases so long as he does not commit a breach of the law. If he or she says or publishes anything expressive of a seditious tendency, he or she is guilty of sedition.


His Highness further provided that the Government has a right to preserve public peace and order as stipulated under Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution and has a good right to prohibit the propagation of opinions which have a seditious tendency. Any government which acts against sedition has to meet the criticism that it is seeking to protect itself and to keep itself in power. Whether such criticism is justified or not is a matter upon which Parliament and the people, not the courts, should pass judgement. Therefore, a meaningful understanding of the right to freedom of speech under the Federal Constitution must be based on the realities of contemporary society in the general morals or the existing political and cultural institutions.


The right to freedom of speech and expression was also mentioned in the case of Madhavan Nair & Anor v Public Prosecutor, whereby Chang Min Tat J (as he then was) remarked that the right to freedom of speech and expression, as well as the right to assemble peaceably but without arms and to form associations, guaranteed in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution is however subject to clauses (2), (3) and (4) of the same Article. In Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, in connection with the freedom of speech, there is reservation to Parliament within the Constitution to impose such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation public order or morality and further restrictions designed to provide against incitement to any offence. Nonetheless, it was not within the competency of the courts to question the necessity or expediency of the legislative provision of the Sedition Act 1948.


Moreover, in the case of Public Prosecutor v Param Cumaraswamy, the High Court distinguished between a seditious act and a non-seditious act. Chua J stated that a seditious act is an act that is likely to incite or influence the audience actually addressed or if it is likely to incite or influence ordinary people even though the audience addressed was unaffected by the words under Section 3(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 whereas an act is deemed to be seditious if it has a tendency to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures or to point out errors or defects in any Government or constitution as by law established, except in respect of any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative than in relation to the implementation of any provision relating thereto or in legislation or in the administration of justice with a view to the remedying of the errors or defects as per Section 3(2) of the Sedition Act 1948.


In another case of Public Prosecutor v Pung Chen Choon, the Supreme Court decided that the right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution is not absolute because the Federal Constitution authorises Parliament to impose certain restrictions, as it deems necessary, and which so far as might be material to this Reference, are the interest of security of the Federation or any part thereof or friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and, on the other hand, the principle that any restriction limiting the fundamental right of free speech and expression not falling within the four walls of Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution cannot be valid. The court further held that in deciding whether the particular piece of legislation falls within the orbit of the permitted restrictions, consideration must be given to the question whether such law is directed at a class of acts too remote in the chain of relation to the subjects enumerated under Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution. In other words, the objects of the impugned law must be sufficiently connected to the subjects enumerated under Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution and the connection contemplated must be real and proximate, not far-fetched or problematic.


However, in the landmark case of Sivarasa Rasiah v Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor, the Federal Court decided that all forms of state action, whether legislative or executive, that infringe a fundamental right, including the right to freedom of speech, assembly and association must have an objective that is sufficiently important to justify limiting the right in question. In addition, the measures designed by the relevant state action to meet its objective must have a rational connection with that objective and the means used by the relevant state action to infringe the right asserted must be proportionate to the objective it seeks to achieve. The court further stated that the disqualifications that Section 46A of the Legal Profession Act 1976 imposes are reasonable restrictions within Article 10(2)(c) of the Federal Constitution, which stated that Parliament may by law impose such restrictions as it deems necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality. Thus, the clause must be read as ‘such reasonable restrictions’ and the restrictions are reasonable because they are justifiable on the ground of morality.


This was affirmed in the landmark case of Muhammad Hilman bin Idham & Ors v Kerajaan Malaysia & Ors, where the Court of Appeal stated that Parliament can no longer impose a restriction on freedom of speech, in any manner it deemed fit, for the purpose of protecting the interests spelt out in Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution. The court further held that any restriction imposed on freedom of speech by Parliament must be a reasonable restriction and the court has the power to examine whether the restriction imposed is reasonable or otherwise. Mohd Hishamudin JCA highlighted that freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. This basic right is recognised in numerous human rights documents such as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore, free speech is accorded preeminent status in the constitutions of many countries.


The reasonable proportionality test has been affirmed again in the case of Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad v Public Prosecutor, whereby the Court of Appeal decided that there cannot be hard and fast rules on what could be construed as ‘reasonable’ restrictions as much will depend on the subject matter and context. The law, however, provides the principles and standards against which to test the legality or constitutionality of legislative or executive action. The court further held that the reasonableness of the restrictions imposed on the right to freedom of peaceable assembly has to be tested according to the legal standard of the Wednesbury Reasonableness Test which merely requires the court to ask whether the decision maker has come to it. Further, in testing the validity of the state action with regard to fundamental rights, including the right to freedom of speech, assembly and association, what the court must consider is whether that state action directly affects the fundamental rights or its inevitable effect or consequence on the fundamental rights is such that it makes their exercise ineffective or illusory.


The reasonable proportionality test was also affirmed in the case of Public Prosecutor v Azmi bin Sharom, whereby the Federal Court laid down that the law promulgated under Article 10(2) of the Federal Constitution must pass the reasonable proportionality test in order to be valid. Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 is consistent with Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution and Article 10 (4) of the Federal Constitution as it cannot be said that the restrictions imposed by said section were too remote or not sufficiently connected to the subjects or objects enumerated in Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution. Furthermore, it was not a total prohibition as it was subjected to a number of exceptions as provided in Section 3(2) of the Sedition Act 1948. As legislated, it was not seditious to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures or to point out errors or defects in any Government or constitution as by law established. Upon close analysis, we agree with the plaintiff’s submission that the restrictions imposed in Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 fell squarely within the ambit or parameter of Article 10(2)(a) of the Constitution and therefore, it did run counter to so.


3.2 Balancing Individual Rights with State Interests


The tension between individual rights and state interests is constant and everlasting in several countries including Malaysia. Thus, striking a balance between these seemingly opposing forces is an ongoing challenge in society. Individual rights, often enshrined in constitutions or legal frameworks, provide a bulwark against state overreach. For example, freedom of speech allows for the exchange of ideas, even dissenting ones, fostering a vibrant intellectual discourse. Such a right in Malaysia is encompassed in Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution. However, states have legitimate interests that sometimes necessitate restricting individual rights and in the context of Malaysia, are subjected to restrictions imposed by Parliament. For instance, public safety is a paramount concern and laws against violence and theft protect individuals from harm and create a stable environment. Therefore, the State argues that a temporary curtailment of individual rights is necessary for the greater good.


Corollary to that, the severity of the threat to the state's interest is crucial. A minor inconvenience cannot justify a significant intrusion on individual rights. Additionally, the proportionality of the restriction matters. The least restrictive means should be employed to achieve the desired outcome. Furthermore, robust legal frameworks and independent judiciaries are essential to ensure that limitations on individual rights are necessary, proportionate, and temporary. To reiterate the case of Public Prosecutor v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors, Sultan Azlan Shah J (as His Majesty then was) commented that a line must be drawn between the right to freedom of speech and sedition, to which the court does so. The right to free speech ceases at the point where it comes within the mischief of Section 3 of the Sedition Act 1948. The distinction between lawful criticism of the government and sedition hinges on whether, upon examination of the speech in its entirety, the court determines that its purpose was to critique government policy or administration in order to bring about change or reform. If so, the speech is considered permissible.


Nonetheless, if the court comes to the conclusion that the speech used naturally, clearly and indubitably has the tendency of stirring up hatred, contempt or disaffection against the Government, then it is caught within the ban of Section 3(1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948. If the natural consequences of the impugned speech are apt to produce conflict and discord amongst the people or to create race hatred, the speech transgresses Section 3(1)(d) and (e) of the Sedition Act 1948. Section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act 1948 comes into play if the impugned speech has reference to question any of the four sensitive issues such as citizenship, national language, special rights of the Malays and the sovereignty of the Rulers. By upholding individual rights, it empowers citizens and fosters innovation and by safeguarding state interests, it creates a secure and stable environment. The key lies in finding a dynamic equilibrium, ensuring that individual freedoms flourish within a framework that protects the collective good.


4.0 Challenges and Controversies


In Malaysia, the freedom of speech, assembly and association in Malaysia encounter substantial impediments attributed to government control and censorship. The concentration of media ownership in the hands of government-linked or politically aligned entities restricts the plurality of voices in the media landscape, thereby limiting the availability of alternative viewpoints and critical analysis. Reports from organisations like Freedom House consistently highlight the challenges facing Malaysia's media environment, categorising it as "partly free" due to significant constraints on press freedom arising from government influence and restrictive laws. 


Besides, the impact of government control extends beyond media ownership to encompass a broader spectrum of civil liberties, including limitations on freedom of expression and assembly. For instance, Section 4(1)(c) of Sedition Act 1948 stated that "Any person who publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit." Moreover, Section 233 of Communications and Multimedia Act 1948 stated that the government has the authority to take action against individuals for improper use of network facilities or network services. This includes content deemed offensive or critical of the government, which may be seen as causing annoyance, inconvenience, or needless anxiety to others. 


The pervasive application of these laws reflects a broader pattern of state interference aimed at controlling public discourse and shaping public opinion. This environment of censorship and legal intimidation not only restricts media freedom but also erodes public trust in institutions and undermines Malaysia's progress towards a more open and democratic society. Efforts to promote press freedom and protect the rights of journalists and activists are essential to safeguarding democratic principles and ensuring that diverse viewpoints are valued and respected in Malaysia's evolving socio-political landscape. As such, without free speech, the enjoyment of other rights will be hardly possible.


Other than that, instances of arbitrary arrests and prosecutions targeting individuals critical of the government further underscore the challenges to free speech and media freedom in Malaysia. These cases not only highlight the risks faced by those who dare to challenge the status quo but also reflect broader patterns of government crackdowns on dissenting voices. Recently, the arrest of Dr. Akmal Salleh in connection with the KK Mart Issue is just one example among many, demonstrating the authorities' willingness to employ legal measures, such as the Sedition Act, to stifle criticism and restrict the free flow of information. While we disagree with Dr Akmal’s statements on the KK Mart issue, UM Consti Team regardless affirms that every individual should have the right to freedom of speech and expression regardless of how inflammatory or seditious such statement might be as it is for the betterment of the public to have access to all opinions and to allow individuals to gather all sorts of viewpoints, and to form their own coherent opinion about that said matter.


Moreover, this environment of government control and censorship not only impedes freedom of expression but also undermines democratic governance and transparency on multiple fronts. The fear of reprisal or legal repercussions discourages journalists and media practitioners from conducting thorough investigations and reporting on critical issues of public interest. This chilling effect restricts the dissemination of vital information necessary for informed decision-making and public accountability. As a consequence, the media landscape in Malaysia becomes increasingly constrained, with journalists self-censoring or avoiding topics deemed sensitive or controversial to avoid confrontation with authorities. International organisations and reports, such as the report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) consistently highlight the challenges faced by journalists in Malaysia due to government interference and restrictive laws. Malaysia's decline in press freedom rankings, as documented in the report, underscores the serious implications of censorship and intimidation on the media environment. 


5.0. Future Direction to Freedom of Speech, Association and Assembly in Malaysia


One of the key legislative reforms needed is the revision of laws that pose a threat to freedom of speech. Laws such as the Sedition Act 1948, Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 have been criticised for their broad and ambiguous provisions, which have been used to stifle dissent and silence critical voices. By revisiting these laws, Malaysia can introduce clearer definitions of offences, limit the scope for arbitrary enforcement, and align them with international human rights norms. For instance, the Sedition Act could be amended to narrow its application to speech that directly incites violence or hatred, while ensuring that legitimate criticism and dissent are protected.


Additionally, legislative reforms should aim to strengthen protections for online freedom of speech. With the rise of digital communication platforms, there is a pressing need to update laws to address new challenges and protect digital rights. In an interview with the deputy minister of the Communication and Digital Ministry, YB Teo Nie Ching, she said that “the ministry feels it is time for a review of the law to ensure the existing provisions are adequate to take action against any type of offence, particularly cyber crimes”.  The Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, in particular, requires revision to ensure that it does not unduly restrict online expression or enable censorship. Reform efforts could focus on narrowing the scope of prohibited speech to align with international standards of free expression, establishing clear procedures for content removal and takedown requests, and enhancing oversight mechanisms to prevent abuse of power.


Furthermore, an independent judiciary also serves as the ultimate guardian of constitutional principles and human rights. As in accordance with Dicey’s third postulates where he mentioned that the judiciary is the beacon of justice. When laws or government actions infringe upon freedom of speech, it falls upon the judiciary to adjudicate cases impartially, ensuring that legal proceedings are conducted fairly and in accordance with established legal norms. By upholding constitutional guarantees and international human rights standards, independent courts provide a bulwark against arbitrary censorship and protect individuals' right to express themselves freely. There have been many instances in Malaysia where the government used the laws as a political tool in order to silence the people that went against the ideology that they preached. For instance, during the 'Operation Lalang' in 1987, approximately 106 individuals, including political activists, politicians, and academics, were arrested without trial under the Internal Security Act. 


Moreover, judicial independence insulates courts from undue influence or pressure from the political branches of government as demonstrated during the constitutional crisis of 1988 in Malaysia.. The separation of powers is essential for preventing the politicisation of the judiciary and preserving its autonomy to interpret and apply the law without fear of retribution. When judges are free from external pressures, they can make decisions based on legal principles and evidence, rather than political considerations or personal biases. This autonomy is particularly crucial in cases involving freedom of speech, where the interests of individuals in expressing themselves may conflict with the interests of the state.


6.0 Conclusion


In conclusion, the freedom of speech, assembly and forming associations is essential in Malaysia’s democratic society.While these rights are clearly listed in the constitution, they are subject to certain limitations as discussed above.Over the years, there have been multiple challenges and controversies surrounding these rights from the restrictions imposed by parliament to the recent KK mart issue. But it is essential that we continuously seek for common ground to determine the future development of these freedoms in Malaysia.


REFERENCES

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[2] Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(1)(a)

[3]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(1) 

[4] n.a. (2020,Sep 17). The right of peaceful assembly. United Nations Human Rights Office Of  The High Commissioner South-East Asia Regional Office. Retrieved on 20 April 2024 from

[5]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(1)(b).

[6]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(1)(c).

[7]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(2) 

[8]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 4(1)(b),(c)

[9]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(3) 

[10]  Societies Act 1966 (Act 832) (Malaysia) s 5(1)

[11]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(4) 

[12]  Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588) (Malaysia)

[13]  Jun, S. W. (2023, March 1). Govt Welcomes Ideas to Improve Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act. Malay Mail. Retrieved from <https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2023/03/01/govt-welcomes-ideas-to-improve-section-233-of-the-communications-and-multimedia-act/57384> Site accessed on 18 April 2024.

[14]  Writers, S. (2023, September 19). Rights Lawyers Press the Government to Suspend the 'Draconian' Provision of the Communications Act. MalaysiaNow.  Retrieved from <https://www.malaysianow.com/news/2023/09/19/rights-lawyers-press-govt-to-suspend-draconian-provision-of-communications-act>

[15]  Mohd Faizal Musa v Menteri Keselamatan Dalam Negeri [2018] 9 CLJ 496

[16]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 149

[17]  PP v Azmi Sharom [2015] 8 CLJ 921

[18]  Ganesan, R. R. (2023, July 30). Repeal Sedition Act, even for insults against royals, say lawyers. Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved from <https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/07/30/repeal-sedition-act-even-for-insults-against-royals-say-lawyers/> Site accessed on 18 April 2024.

[19]  OHCHR. (n.d.). Malaysia Sedition Act Threatens Freedom of Expression by Criminalising Dissent. Retrieved from <https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2014/10/malaysia-sedition-act-threatens-freedom-expression-criminalising-dissent> Site accessed on 18 April 2024.

[20]  See footnotes 3

[21]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(2) and (3).

[22]  Public Prosecutor v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors [1971] 2 MLJ 108.

[23]  Madhavan Nair & Anor v Public Prosecutor [1971] 2 MLJ 264.

[24]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(2)(a).

[25]  Public Prosecutor v Param Cumaraswamy [1986] 1 MLJ 512.

[26]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3(1).

[27]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3(2).

[28]  Public Prosecutor v Pung Chen Choon [1994] 1 MLJ 566.

[29]  See footnote 2.

[30]  See footnote 24.

[31]  See footnote 24.

[32]  See footnote 24.

[33]  Sivarasa Rasiah v Badan Peguam Malaysia & Anor [2010] 2 MLJ 333.

[34]  Section 46A of the Legal Profession Act 1976

[35]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) art 10(2)(c).

[36]  Muhammad Hilman bin Idham & Ors v Kerajaan Malaysia & Ors [2011] 6 MLJ 507.

[37]  See footnote 24

[38]  Nik Nazmi bin Nik Ahmad v Public Prosecutor [2014] 4 MLJ 157.

[39]  Public Prosecutor v Azmi bin Sharom [2015] 6 MLJ 751.

[40]  See footnote 2.

[41]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 4(1).

[42]  See footnote 24.

[43]  Federal Constitution (Malaysia) s 10(4).

[44]  See footnote 24.

[45]  See footnote 27.

[46]  See footnote 41.

[47]  See footnote 24.

[48]  Abdul Aziz Bari. (2003). Malaysian Constitution: A Critical Introduction. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Other Press, 153. 

[49]  See footnote 2.

[50]  Lee, H. P. (2017). Constitutional Conflicts in Contemporary Malaysia. (2nd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 11.

[51]  See footnote 22

[52]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3.

[53]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3(1)(a).

[54]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3(1)(d) and (e).

[55]  Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) (Malaysia) s 3(1)(f).

[56]  n.a. (2023). Freedom in The World 2023. https://freedomhouse.org/country/malaysia/freedom-world/2023

[57]  Sedition Act 1948, S.4(1)(c). 

[58]  Communications and Multimedia Act 1948, S.233

[59]  Howie, E. (2018). PROTECTING THE HUMAN RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 20(1), 12–15. https://doi.org/10.1080/17549507.2018.1392612

[60]  Ram, S. (2014). KK Mart 'Allah' Socks Fiasco: What Happened And 3 Facts You Need To Know. https://says.com/my/news/kk-mart-allah-socks-fiasco

[61]  n.a. (2023). Reporters Without Borders. https://rsf.org/en/country/malaysia

[62]  (2023, 31 May) Malaysia: Repeal of Archaic Sedition Act 1948 Urged by IBAHRI, Clooney Foundation and other rights organisations in a joint statement. International Bar Association Retrieved from <https://www.ibanet.org/IBAHRI-joint-letter-on-Malaysia-Sedition-Act>accessed on 17 April 2024

[63] Reshna Reem Ganesan. (2023, 30 July) Repeal Sedition Act, Even For Insults Against Royals, Say Lawyers. FreeMalaysiaToday. Retrieved from <https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2023/07/30/repeal-sedition-act-even-for-insults-against-royals-say-lawyers/>accessed on 17 April 2024

[64]  Bernama. (2023,17 September) Amendments to Communications and Multimedia Act to Be Tabled Early Next Year. NewStraitsTime. Retrieved from <https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2023/09/956396/amendments-communications-and-multimedia-act-be-tabled-early-next-year>accessed on 17 April 2024

[65]  A.V. Dicey “An Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution” (Liberty Classics, 1982)

[66] (2021, 27 October) 34 years after Ops Lalang, still no sincere apology by Dr M. FreeMalaysiaToday. Retrieved from < https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2021/10/27/34-years-after-ops-lalang-still-no-sincere-apology-by-dr-m/>accessed on 17 April 2024

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