A discussion on freedom of expression in Malaysia cannot start without looking into the legal context of the issue. However what follows is not an exhaustive list of laws regulating the press in Malaysia. There is no current estimate for the number of laws affecting freedom of the press in Malaysia, but informal estimates range from 20 to 50 pieces of legislation. What follows is a selection of the most important existing and proposed laws restricting press freedom.

The Sedition Act 1948

In 1948, the Sedition Act was enacted by the British colonial government to combat the Communists. Amendments were made through an Emergency Ordinance 1971, not long after the riots of 1969, to criminalise any questioning on Part III (on citizenship), Article 152 (on national language), Article 153 (on the special positions of the Malays and the rights of other races) and Article 181 (the Rulers’ sovereignty) of the Federal Constitution. Continue reading Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (PPPA)

The Printing Presses and Publications Act was first introduced by the British colonial government as the Printing Ordinance of 1948 at the beginning of the state of emergency, in order to counteract Communist activities seen as a threat to the establishment. The Act required all newspapers and printing presses to obtain an annual publishing licence. Continue reading Tags: , , , , , ,

The Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA)

Early history Official secrets in Malaya was first protected under the UK’s Official Secrets Act 1911 and 1920, then under the Official Secrets Ordinance of the States of Malaya and another for the state of Sabah. The current act was … Continue reading Tags: , , , , ,

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution

Article 10 of the Federal Constitution Guarantees every citizens with the right to freedom of speech and assembly. In practice, Malaysia’s experience on many counts of people’s right to exercise their freedom of expression is limited and selectively based on … Continue reading Tags: , , , , ,