KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — The government is mulling a new act to impose civil penalties on those who play up 3R (religion, king and race) sentiments, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.
She said the new act which may be called the ‘State and Nation Act’ was like the Maintenance of Racial Harmony Act in Singapore, but in the Malaysian context.
At present, she said any offence involving the 3R issue was investigated under the Sedition Act 1848, whereby the act was more geared towards elements of criminal offences, causing prosecution to take a long time due to legal procedures.
“So, I said maybe we need to evaluate it in the element of positivity… such an act that is proposed is punitive.
“It means that if one violates it, he or she will be fined. That is easier to solve or convict,” she told reporters after appearing as a guest on the ‘Malaysia Di Ambang PRN 2023’ forum at Menara Dato Onn here tonight.
Azalina said the proposal to create the new act had been presented to the Cabinet today and received a positive response.
According to her, the challenge faced at the moment is when social media is used to play up 3R sentiments, it can be denied and there is no solid evidence to prove it.
Therefore, she said the existence of the new act was a solution to the 3R issue that had become more and more prevalent in the country in recent years, and would ensure the needs of the future generation are better met.
Meanwhile, Azalina, who is also UMNO’s information chief, said the decision of the French Court of Appeal to reject the enforcement of a partial award to the Sulu Group proved the stability of the MADANI Government.
“The Sulu case cannot be won (by the Sulu Group) if the government is stable. They took advantage. They are not stupid. They know that if the prime minister changes, sometimes the attorney general changes, they take advantage,” she said.
She said political stability was vital to safeguarding the country’s peace and economy as well as continuing the people’s agenda.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek said early exposure to political literacy among the youth through the curriculum and programmes implemented by the ministry aimed to form young people who knew their rights as citizens.
“Our current focus is on those who can already vote in the context of the Education Ministry’s segment, (those in) Form Six, matriculation and so on, they have been exposed to the curriculum,” she said.