Judiciary

Court of Appeal: No action should be taken against people who criticise the government

This was the news from two days ago:

Appeals court: No one should be afraid of criticising government

PETALING JAYA: The public should not be afraid to talk about government and public officers’ conduct, says the Court of Appeal.

In a 31-page written judgment by Court of Appeal Judge Justice Idrus Harun, in the case of Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaacob suing Utusan Melayu for defamation, he noted the people should discuss their government and public officials’ conduct without being subjected to civil actions for their opinion.

“We consider that as one of the fundamental principles, that in the exercise of the right to such freedom within the ambit of the Federal Constitution and related laws, the people should have the right to discuss their government and the officials in carrying out their duties.

“Such right to talk has been enshrined under Article 10(1)(a) of the Constitution, without any common law principle being applied.”

Idrus also said that any actions taken against individuals who voiced out their criticisms was against the public interest and would affect the fundamental liberties of a person.

“As public interest dictates, a democratically elected government and officers should be subjected to criticism and every responsible citizen should not be restrained in their opinions on the government’s affairs and administration.”

The panel, which also consisted of Justice Rohana Yusof and Justice Mary Lim, suggested that the Derbyshire principle, which rules that those holding office in public bodies like local authorities cannot sue in their official capacity, should be applied and be adopted in the country’s defamation laws.

“The English court’s decision, in our opinion, is no less valid and should be applied and be part of our defamation laws.

“It has a similar principle related to our freedom of speech under the Constitution and that public interest does not favour the right of government and its officers to sue for libel,” Idrus said.

It is refreshing to see some judges are still upholding the law and liberty in this country. Sad that the same can’t be said about their fraternity brother in the AG chambers.

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7 thoughts on “Court of Appeal: No action should be taken against people who criticise the government

  1. Paling lawak kalau ada dungu pro jibbon yang kata semua fakta yang ada sebagai fitnah. Bila tanya apa yang dia buat dengan 2.6 bilion tu, semua kena sawan berbuih mulut nak jawab padahal jibbon buat belanja beli itu ini untuk kegunaan peribadi. Siap ada bukti kredit card statement lagi. Pastu nak ugut buat polis repot kata tak boleh kritik maharaja jibbon?

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  2. Nothing new with this court ruling. Goes without saying that the people can criticise the government. This occurs thousands of times a day. But do you see hundreds of people getting arrested and charged? NO. It shows how tolerant the government led by Najib is.

    But spreading malicious lies is different. Like using shaky reports from malicious sources like Wall Street Journal. Many people have their own selfish agenda. They say they are just criticizing the government and pretend that they are so concerned about the country. The truth is, they are only trying to gain power by spreading lies about Najib. When they have power, they will immediately use that to become thieves. On a grand scale.

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    • In Law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In Ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so.
      – Immanuel Kant

      Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
      – Voltaire

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    • WSJ reporting mallicious? hmm what about investigation done by other countries? why not give a proper rebuttal rather than clinging on that donation shit. who in the right man would believed that when we were presented with more logical explanation of the money trail. Come on now. Why not sue WSJ or other countries that meddling with our countries? Why on earth Singapore taking actions about 1MDB and back home we can’t even talk about it.

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    • Read Thomas Paine Rights of Man. I respect your opinion but remember we all see the same thing differently. The fact is that Malaysia is governed by a corrupt regime. That is real. 1MDB cannot be fiction.

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