Stop using law to target dissenting views


DIFFERENCES of views, ideas or opinions should be resolve or settle professionally through the process of dialogues, discussions and debates. We should not constantly use the law or legal repercussion against or to supress any views, ideas or opinions which does not suit our own thinking, perception or interest. There is new noticeable trend developing in our society lately where certain individuals and group prefer to spend their valuable time and energy making a report or complain to the enforcement authority with the hope for some kind of legal action to be taken against anyone who give any views, ideas or opinions which are seen not inline with their own.

If we allow this trend to continue, we will create a society which unable use their brain to think and speak up. At the end, the society will suffer and the country no longer progresses. We should encourage people to speak up and express their views, ideas and opinions without being subjected to the threat of legal consequences.

Instead of constantly using law as a means to supress the differences, why can’t we meet and have a peaceful dialogues, discussions and debates to resolve such differences? Is it so hard for us to meet and have dialogues, discussions and debates between us? Freedom of speech and expression should be valued and protected at all times.

Freedom of speech and expression is part of a basic human right which belongs to every human being in all countries. Such basic freedom and rights should not be denied or curbed without justifiable or reasonable reason. It should be welcomed by all as it can bring many benefits to the society and the country.

What is freedom of speech and expression? Freedom of speech and expression is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to express their their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or facing with legal action. Freedom of speech and expression is part of basic human rights as it clearly stipulated under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR) and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966 (ICCPR).

Article 19 of the UDHR 1948 clearly states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”. Freedom of speech and expression is also protected under our Federal Constitution, the highest law of the land. Article 10 (1) (a) clearly states “Every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression”. This clearly shows us that freedom of speech and expression exist and it is legally protected by both international convention and our own country’s constitution. Nobody should be denied their freedom of speech and expression.

Each human being is born differently. Each one of us have our own mind to think and we also possess different views, ideas and opinions. Such differences should be treasure as it can be used to make our society and country progress, developed and able to move forward. Instead constantly seeing such freedom or basic right as a threat or enemy, we should see such freedom and basic right in positive way. Freedom of speech and expression can allow individuals to protect their rights and interests and the rights and interests of others.

Freedom of speech and expression can also be used as a shield to protect people from any ill treatments and oppression. If we keep supressing this freedom and basic right, it’s hard for anyone to speak up to protect their rights and interests as well as the rights and interests of others. Without such freedom and basic rights, people will unable to protect themselves from any ill treatments and oppression. Suppression over freedom of speech and expression might also deter the development and production of constructive ideas which is vital for our society and country’s advancement.

However, we have to accept the fact that no freedoms and basic human rights can be absolute and this include freedom of speech and expression. However, though we have limitation to such freedom and basic rights, it does not mean that we should shut the door entirely for people to speak and express their views and opinions. Those in power should not use such limitation as a ticket to create many laws or to enforce any existing laws to discourage people’s freedom to speak and to express themselves. People should be encouraged to speak as well as to express their views, ideas and opinions. Differences in views, ideas and opinions should be resolve professionally through dialogues, discussions and debates not through legal actions, arrests, prosecutions, fines or imprisonments. – May 28, 2024.

* Muzaffar Syah Mallow is associate professor at the Faculty of Shariah and Laws, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM).

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.



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Comments


  • You mean THAT UMNO youth leader?

    He was encouraging police reports be made regarding dissenting views on UiTM.

    Posted 2 weeks ago by Malaysian First · Reply