Kuala Lumpur, 12 Aug — Communications and Multimedia Minister Dato Saifuddin Abdullah said he disagreed with the move by authorities to arrest several individuals for criticizing the country’s leaders.
He was of the view that such arrests should not be happening in Malaysia as this is a country that upholds the principles of democracy.
“If it is fake news, then of course we will investigate. As someone who imbues the principles of democracy, I do not agree with anyone being arrested because they have criticized political leaders unless it has to do with religious issues or the rulers,” he said at an online press conference today.
“I may not agree with your criticism but I will defend your right to speak,” he added.
On Aug 10, the police had arrested two men for making comments on Facebook deemed as negative about Kedah MB Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, following a report made by his special officer.
On Aug 9, meanwhile, a senior citizen aged 61 was similarly remanded for uploading a video said to have humiliated the menteri besar.
Saifuddin further urged politicians and the public alike to be guided by the constitution in their speech, not only their emotions.
Citing the example of lawyer and former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram, Saifuddin said “they speak according to the provisions of the Federal Constitution as there are some who question the legitimacy of the prime minister”.
“But many of us who speak do so based on emotions and extreme political tendencies. We encourage debate but let it be based on facts and the constitution,” he said.