Is there truly a protection of an individual freedom to speech and expression under the Malaysian Constitution or is such freedom a limited

and/or restricted one? Critically comment. (Support your answer with case law or statutes if any).

a. INTRODUCTORY The fact of the question allows a critical review upon the protection of individual freedom to speech and expression under the Malaysian Constitution.

b. WHAT FALLS UNDER THE FREEDOM TO SPEECH AND EXPRESSION? Freedom of speech and association is part of Art 10 FC . There are few categories can be seen under these freedoms, which includes; sedition, contempt of court, press freedom and the licensing newspapers. 1

c. LET US HAVE A FURTHER UNDERSTANDING! First and foremost, let one discuss upon the sedition. One could see that the autonomy to speak out and alliance here has nonetheless been
1

Hardi ng, A ndre w, “ L aw , Gove rn me nt an d the C onsti tu ti on i n Mal aysi a ”, (6 t h Edi ti o n, 20 07 ), Mal a yan L aw J ourn al Sdn B hd. 19 2, 19 6 a nd 1 97

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‘hold back’. This can readily be seen through The Sedition Act 1948 . The clear picture of the restriction of words can clearly be seen in the case of Public Prosecutor v Mark Koding . 2 One could see that those words came from the Member of Parliament; Mark Koding was seditious in nature and has acted ambiguously, ignoring the sensitivity of other races in Malaysia. In the case of Lim Kit Siang v Dato’ Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad ; here the Prime Minister condemned the court for interpreting statutes differing to Parliament’s intention. 3 Further, Mr. Lim claimed that the criticism was a great deal of disregarding the judiciar y organ and the pillar of separation of powers. 4 The essence of the freedom of press and the licensing of newspapers can evidently be observe in the case of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara v Minister of Home Affairs . 5 The absurdity stands when the minister refused to approved the licence in renewing the operation of the journal. 6

d. IS THERE AN END TO THE RESTRICTION?

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[1983] 1 MLJ 111 [1987] 1 MLJ 383, 386

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4

Ha rdi n g, An dre w , “ L aw, Gove rnme nt a nd t he C ons ti tuti o n i n Mal aysi a ” , (6 t h Edi ti o n, 20 07 ), Mal a yan L aw J ourn al Sdn B hd, 19 6
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[1988] 1 MLJ 440

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Ha rdi n g, An dre w , “ L aw, Gove rnme nt a nd t he C ons ti tuti o n i n Mal aysi a ” , (6 t h Edi ti o n, 20 07 ), Mal a yan L aw J ourn al Sdn B hd, 19 7 & 19 8

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Based upon the elaboration that one had provided before, one is very sure that you would wish to know one’s opinions with regards to the restriction upon Art 10 FC . Primarily, the restriction may help the nation to be more careful with words used. Which means, ‘the society will try not to hurt each other ’ (either upon races, religions or other matter that had been classified as ‘sensitive issues’). In discussing the rational of the restrictions, one would prefer to exclude the Internal Security Act issue. The Federal Constitution has highly likely tr ying to control the misconduct of the public towards the freedom given. One would be of the opinion that the government belief that if freedom were to be given to the public thoroughly, then the society shall suffer; because of the misused of liberty. Further, one would see the restriction not as a burden, but merely a way to enforce respect and discipline amongst the people. Despite the positive view that one had ‘vomited’, there are also contrary views with regards to the freedoms. One would think that the ‘democracy issue’ in Malaysia is just a fake title in the eye of the world. The public itself knows the truth and ‘borders’ has been drawn to ensure the public would not and should not cross the line. Thus, based upon one’s outlooks, one would belief that you might have some different ideas in assessing your views upon the freedom of speech
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and expression. It is not for one to judge the ‘right or wrong’ of the freedoms, but it lies upon the mindset of the society itself. Therefore, there is no real answer to the question. Last but not least, if this countr y would apply a total liberty without restrictions, one would be afraid to live in this country and would be here now. Hence, one would wish to urge all and ever yone to have ‘a piece of mind’ upon this matter. It is not a bad thing having restriction though. No, there would never be an end to the limitation!

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