DAP is gravely disturbed by police investigation under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act, on both Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan and DAP Klang MP Charles Santiago, for criticising the Federal Court decision finding Malaysiakini guilty of contempt of court for comments left by its readers.
Criticising a court decision is not seditious and is a far cry from making seditious remarks questioning the integrity of the judiciary. Criticising a court decision has been the legal convention and to silence such differences of opinion is no different from stifling legitimate dissent and freedom of speech.
By opening up police investigation papers on both of them, freedom of press and speech will be much more restrictive. Is putting freedom of the press and speech on straitjackets the new normal after the declaration of emergency and suspension of Parliament? Without a functioning Parliament, the government can exercise dictatorial powers.
This will give a negative impression of an insecure government that has lost its parliamentary majority, systematically snuffing out democracy and fundamental human rights, one by one. If investigation papers can be opened against both men, does that mean the police will also investigate the thousands of similar comments and criticisms?
DAP stands together with both Steven Gan and Charles Santiago. Just like the public that rose in unison to donate funds and raise the RM500,000 fine, the public will also stand in solidarity with those who have committed no offence other than exercising their right of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.