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Press briefing note on Malaysia

13 July 2012

Acting Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Location: Geneva
Subjects: Malaysia

We welcome the announcement by the Malaysian Government that it will repeal the Sedition Act of 1948, a colonial-era law that curbed free speech and freedom of expression in the country.

We call on the Government to ensure the consistency of the proposed new law, the National Harmony Act, with international human rights standards. There have been concerns in the past about the way in which some reforms have been rapidly processed, without much public consultation. We call on the Government to use this opportunity to conduct a genuine and meaningful consultation with relevant national institutions, including the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, and civil society, to ensure that the new legislation is indeed in full compliance with international law and norms. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights also stands ready to assist in this process.

An early ratification of the core human rights treaties, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, would also reaffirm Malaysia's commitment towards improving the protection of human rights in the country.

ENDS

For more information or media requests, please contact Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org).

UN Human Rights office country page on Malaysia: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AsiaRegion/Pages/MYIndex.aspx

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