The Bar Council is surprised by the notification from the Polis DiRaja Malaysia (“PDRM”) that it wishes to record statements, under section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code, for the purposes of investigations arising out of a complaint in respect of section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948.
The investigations are purportedly in relation to Motion 7.2 (“Motion on the Attorney General, Public Prosecutor and Improvement of Public Perspective of Administration of Justice in Malaysia”), tabled at the 70th Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Bar held on 19 March 2016.
Section 4(1)(a) of the Sedition Act 1948 provides that an offence is committed by any person who “does or attempts to do, or makes any preparation to do, or conspires with any person to do, any act which has or which would, if done, have a seditious tendency”. The Sedition Act 1948 is a draconian piece of repressive colonial legislation that is unclear and uncertain in scope, and suppresses the right to freedom of speech and expression.
The section 112 statements are to be recorded from the following persons:
(1) Karen Cheah Yee Lynn (Secretary of the Malaysian Bar);(2) Charles Hector Fernandez (Member of the Malaysian Bar);(3) Francis Pereira (Member of the Malaysian Bar); and(4) Shanmugam a/l Ramasamy (Member of the Malaysian Bar).
The action taken by PDRM is unacceptable. It is an interference with the Bar Council’s statutory obligation to convene and conduct the Malaysian Bar’s Annual General Meeting, and the statutory entitlement of Members of the Malaysian Bar to move motions for the consideration of the Malaysian Bar, consistent with the Malaysian Bar’s objects and powers under the Legal Profession Act 1976.
The Malaysian Bar urges PDRM to respect the statutory duties of the Bar Council and the statutory rights of Members of the Malaysian Bar.
29 March 2016