It is with shock and dismay we observed the deterioration of the Rule of Law and the Freedom of Expression being stifled in Malaysia. During the period commencing May 2013, there have been approximately 30 instances of persons investigated, arrested and/or prosecuted by the Malaysian authorities, for alleged sedition. we are further disturbed that during the past three months alone, there have been in excess of 20 members of civil society, students, law academicians, lawyers, members of media and journalists, and members of Parliament and of the State Legislatures, who have been investigated, arrested and/or prosecuted for having expressed views, opinions or criticisms, or raised questions with regard to social issues, the law and the Federal and State Constitutions of Malaysia.
There have also been prosecutions under an archaic act, the Sedition Act of 1948, where persons engaging in racially and religiously divisive advocacy or expression have been given free reign and allowed to create an environment of fear, subjugation and oppression. These acts are nothing but efforts by the authorities in order to promulgate an authoritarian rule moving towards an autocracy, drifting away from the civilized world impacting on its people and its economy.
This is an extremely alarming state of affairs. Freedom of Expression and good governance are regarded as critical characteristics of a democratic Government. by citizens of the world. Governments that restraint the aspiration of the people, that steel or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression that form human rights must bear in mind that they not only cannot escape their own people but the international community and finally be left in isolation. Freedom of Expression as guaranteed in the universal declaration of human rights must not be limited to paper instead should be respected and given effect to, in its literal sense by persons world over.
In the modern global village all the democratic nations rally around with each other. The golden thread of legal profession binds the legal fraternity world over. The Malaysian bar is no exception. The members of the legal profession in Sri Lanka stands by the Malaysian Bar in their struggle against the oppression of fundamental freedoms of speech and expression, abuse of power and subversion of democratic principles and the Rule of Law by the Malaysian authorities.
We support the Malaysian Bar unhesitantly with admiration on their will and courage in the discharge of their socio responsibility towards its people in upholding their rights against illegal arrest, illegal oppression of speech, expression and democratic political rights.
Bar Association of Sri Lanka