KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9, 2015:

The number of sedition cases this year increased by a whopping 500% — up to 220 cases compared with only 44 recorded last year..

Suaram, in its 2015 human rights report released today, also recorded a sharp two-fold increase in the use of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 and said it was used to suppress the freedom of expression in the country.

The number of cases under CMA rose from under 15 last year to 37 this year, the non-governmental organisation said.

Among the prominent individuals who were recently charged under CMA was former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim for using a Web application to upload a speech supporting former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad calling for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to step down.

The annual report also documented 46 cases under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) this year compared with only 31 last year.

Among other “alarming figures” was the 975 arrests and investigations under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca).

Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong, together with Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, launched the annual report at Selangor Chinese assembly hall on the eve of Human Rights Day.

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on Dec 10.

During the question-and-answer session, National Human Rights Society of Malaysia (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was also present, condemned the government for passing the National Security Council (NSC) Bill recently.

“The ministry dropped a ‘nuclear bomb’ on us by introducing the Bill.

“How did the Cabinet allow this to happen?”

Meanwhile, Kua seconded Ambiga’s statement that not only there was Sedition Act, Poca and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) but there was now the NSC Bill.

During the event, Suaram also presented the human rights awards to two recipients — Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan (JKOAK) and Gabungan Selamatkan Petani dan Penternak Perak.

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