KUALA LUMPUR - In a response to concerns over rising attacks on race and religious issues, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the Sedition Act 1948 would stay.
The Prime Minister said that the Act would also be fortified with the inclusion of some new provisions.
His announcement at the opening of the Umno general assembly yesterday was received with thunderous applause by more than 2,000 delegates and thousands of observers at the Putra World Trade Centre.
Najib, who is Umno president, said that to be included in the Act was a provision to protect the sanctity of Islam and make insulting any religion a criminal act.
"We will also include in the Sedition Act that action can be taken against anyone who incites Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia," he said.
"The Sedition Act will remain so that we can truly form a nation that is peaceful, stable and harmonious. Do you all agree?" he asked, receiving a positive response from the floor.
Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, expressed confidence that parties in the coalition supported the move not to abolish the Act.
"What is important is that we must ensure effective enforcement and that it is done in a fair manner," he said.
Najib acknowledged that the Sedition Act was one that the delegates were eager to hear about.
He started his presentation on the issue with a video clip depicting graphic images insulting Islam and Muslims that were taken from Facebook pages and other social media websites.
They included images of pigs photoshopped on top of the Kaabah and pork served during breaking of fast during Ramadan.
Najib said the decision was made after taking into consideration the views of deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Wanita, Youth and Puteri movements, grassroots and non-governmental organisations.