Freedom of speech in Malaysia

Saeed, Hassan 1970- (2002). Freedom of speech in Malaysia PhD Thesis, T.C. Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2016.879

       
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Author Saeed, Hassan 1970-
Thesis Title Freedom of speech in Malaysia
School, Centre or Institute T.C. Beirne School of Law
Institution University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2016.879
Publication date 2002-01-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Suri Ratnapala
Total pages 349
Language eng
Subjects 18 Law and Legal Studies
Formatted abstract
Introduction

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
ohn Stuart Mill - On Liberty, ch. 2 (1859)


An important feature of a modern democracy is the fundamental right to freedom of speech. It is generally accepted that this right is one of the core human rights and is an essential part of the modern democracy. It has been variously described as the 'the matrix of nearly every other form of freedom', the 'fourth estate-the watchdog of the Parliament' and the 'basis of all freedoms'. These few descriptions clearly indicate the importance placed on this right.


In Malaysia, as in most nations, the freedom of speech and expression is protected. The country's supreme law, the Federal Constitution under its chapter on fundamental rights, accords protection to this freedom. However, again as in most nations, this is subject to certain restrictions.

Over the years, the freedom of speech and expression has been steadily eroded in Malaysia, in the name of security, racial harmony and economic development. Around the time of Malaysia gaining independence, some of these reasons were linked with some possibly justifiable and identifiable incidents, such as an armed communist insurgency, a confrontation with Indonesia and the threat of invasion by Vietnam. Apart from these factors, there was a considerable threat of racial violence occurring, as illustrated by events on 13 May 1969. However, restrictions having been imposed on these grounds, the authorities subsequently sought ways and means of perpetuating the restrictions. In the process, new reasons were invoked to validate the continued application and enforcement of more severe curtailments of human rights. The need to boost economic development was one of the main reasons given.

The degree to which freedoms have deteriorated in Malaysia is indicated by Freedom House surveys and data on comparative levels of freedom that are sustained by the countries of the world. These data, going back to 1972, take into account a number of factors including the extent of freedom of speech and expression in each respective nation. The data are correlated into one score for political rights and one for civil rights on a scale of 1-7, the lowest score representing the greatest freedom and the highest score representing the greatest restriction. Thus the table below depicts the overall status of civil and political freedom in Malaysia from 1974 until 2001.          ........
Keyword Freedom of speech -- Malaysia

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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Created: Wed, 08 Jun 2016, 21:34:26 EST by Ms Dulcie Stewart on behalf of The University of Queensland Library