Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman (above) has responded to criticisms on his remarks on the Sedition Act, saying his statement of a fact does not mean he agrees with retaining the controversial law.
In a statement tonight, Azis he was merely responding to a question posed by a reporter that the arrest of Azman Noor Adam, the brother of Umno supreme council member Lokman, under the act was done according to the police's standard operating procedures.
Azman was arrested for spreading on social media images that allegedly insulted Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"Pertaining to my remark that the Sedition Act 1948 will be continued until there is an official announcement of its amendment or repeal, it does not mean that I agree that the law is to be used against any individuals.
"The police were merely carrying out their duty after receiving many reports. If no action is taken, then the public perception that the police are not doing their job will arise," he said, adding that all forms of police action are taken after due consideration of the law.
Repealing Sedition Act has also yet to be finalised, stressed Warisan's Sepanggar MP.
"It (the repeal) has to go through both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara, the same as the move to abolish the Anti-Fake News Act.
“In fact, the Pakatan Harapan government has never encouraged for the (Sedition) Act to be used neither are there orders from the leadership for the law to be used against any individuals as claimed by certain quarters.
"I was merely stating that the Act still stands when asked a question to that effect. If my critics were in my place, how would they have answered? Can you make decisions against the cabinet?
“The Harapan government is committed to its election manifesto and the pledges within will be fulfilled in the near future but all decisions should undergo the proper procedure and process," Azis stressed.
Abolishing draconian laws, including the Sedition Act, was one of Harapan's pledge in its GE14 manifesto.
Azis' earlier remarks had courted friendly fire from within Harapan.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said Azis' statement shows that the government lacks the political will to keep to its own promises while PKR vice-president N Surendran had asked Azis to read the Harapan manifesto before making such statements.
Even Mahathir himself has urged the police to cease arresting those who hurl insults at him, saying he does not mind being criticised.