Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar investigated under the Sedition Act on a speech made in Parliament

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Sedition investigation on Nurul Izzah is unconstitutional and in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat


I refer to the ongoing police investigation on Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar under the Sedition Act on a speech made by her in Dewan Rakyat. She had read out the speech of jailed opposition leader and prisoner of conscience Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on 10th March, which allegedly attacked the judiciary.

This police investigation is illegal, unconstitutional and a serious interference with the rights and privileges of Parliament.

Article 63(2) of the federal constitution confers immunity from any proceedings in court for anything said by an MP in the Dewan Rakyat.

Subsequent to the May 13 1969 riots, the Constitution was amended to include a new Article 63(4). Article 63(4) provides an exception to the immunity under 63(2) for words uttered by MPs which fall under the Sedition Act 1948.

But this exception under 63(4) is limited. Action can only be taken against MPs for words uttered which fall under section 3(1)(f) of the Sedition Act 1948 ie: on citizenship, the position of Rulers, national language or special position of Malays.

In other words, MPs cannot be charged for anything said in Parliament unless they question the foregoing ‘sensitive’ matters.

Clearly, the speech made by Nurul Izzah on behalf of the opposition leader did not touch any of the matters prohibited by section 3(1)(f) Sedition Act. Thus, no action or criminal proceeding can be commenced or maintained against her for criticism of the judiciary.

The IGP Khalid Bakar and the state police chief are thus in contempt of the Dewan Rakyat for initiating a criminal investigation under the Sedition Act against Nurul Izzah.

We hold the Home Minister fully responsible for this interference with the Dewan Rakyat as the Minister responsible for the police. The investigation must be dropped immediately and the Minister must provide an explanation to the Dewan Rakyat as to how and why such an investigation was sanctioned and commenced.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat must in his capacity as chairman of the committee of privileges initiate an immediate inquiry into this blatant breach of parliamentary privilege by the IGP and state police chief.

Issued by,
N Surendran,
Member of Parliament,
Padang Serai.

16 March 2015

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