KUALA LUMPUR – Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Tuesday said that it is appropriate for the Sedition Act 1948 to be maintained with several improvements made because it serves to preserve unity and national harmony, and not aimed at protecting the interests of the Malays alone.
The Deputy Prime Minister said it was apt for the government to take stern action to curb quarters from making statements which touched on racial and religious sensitivities that could spark tension because prevention was better than cure.
Hence, he expressed the need for several provisions to be inserted in the law to prohibit anyone from questioning the provisions in the constitution that safeguarded Islam as the religion of the federation.
“This act is also needed to prevent anyone from questioning the rights of believers of other religious faiths to practice their religion.
“Likewise, with the position of the Malay reserve land and the Royal Malay Regiment which are part of the decisions by the Malay rulers that have to be protected from any acts of sedition,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said this in his speech at the simultaneous opening of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri Umno assemblies in conjunction with the 2014 Umno general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre here.
He also reminded party delegates to be firm in opposing extremism and militancy which were rapidly influencing young people who wanted a short-cut to heaven.
“We will not compromise with those who attempt to twist the meaning of ‘wasatiyyah’ (moderation) which is synonymous with the Islamic principles of moderation by bringing deviationist ideologies, like liberalism and secularism,” he added.
Muhyiddin said Umno could not remain at its old notch by making police reports or putting up banners in tackling pressures against Islam, but with knowledge.
“We have to have more discussions, publications and discourse on freedom and human rights according to the Islamic perspective and how Islam deals with secularism.
“We have to address secularism in religion by being steadfast in faith and sharpness of the mind, and not shrouded by blind emotions,” he said, adding that Islamic institutions and law enforcement should be emphasised through cooperation with Islamic non-governmental organisations.
This, he said, was because Muslims were now in the post-modern world that regarded religion as an obstacle to human freedom.
He referred to last October issue of the ‘Economist’ magazine which stated that same-sex marriage, which was not accepted by almost all countries in the 1950s, was now recognised in 113 countries or 63 per cent of the countries in the world. – Bernama