In light of the now former Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V’s resignation, a number of Malaysians have faced legal consequences after posting rude comments regarding the matter on social media. Most recently, it was confirmed by the police that three people have been arrested for making such comments online.
Now, the government is looking into ways to tighten laws to better protect royalty from such insults.
Commenting on proposed law amendments, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stated earlier today that Malaysian laws need to properly define what is considered insulting to the monarchy.
According to Astro Awani, the Prime Minister stated that it is important that people are not simply accused and put on trial, while also ensuring that the principles of justice are not being abused. He was quoted by the daily as saying,
“In my opinion, enforcement officials do not understand what is considered insulting. So, we need to spell out what exactly is considered “insulting” and what encompasses that term.”
Tun Dr Mahathir continued to say that all parties need to realise that Malaysia is a country that values free speech, saying,
“With freedom of speech, if someone states something that is factual, the individual should not be found guilty.”
“On the other hand, if we silence everyone until people cannot speak up against acts of crime there will be no justice.”
According to the Malay Mail, the government is considering reviewing existing laws like the Sedition Act and will either amend or introduce new laws to protect the country’s rulers from insulting or rude comments more effectively. Legal affairs minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong was quoted by the daily as saying,
“We are looking into probably the punishment side, because at this moment, the punishment section for certain offences against the monarchy is a bit on the low side.”
“For now, we are still bound by the old laws, but the AGC together with me have looked at a few laws that have to be amended. Our meeting will be held again at the end of this month, and if there is agreement from the ministries and Cabinet, we will enact a new law later.”
“The obligation is to ensure our constitutional monarchy will always be protected from all kinds of attacks from these irresponsible people.”
What are your thoughts on Tun M’s statement? Let us know in the comments below!