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Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman says his ministry will conduct more public awareness programmes and carry out studies to enhance existing laws. - NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is still carrying out a study on the Sedition Act 1948 to ensure that offences against the royal institution, races and religions (3Rs) are maintained, if it is repealed.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said this could be done by including them in existing laws such as the Penal Code or enacting a new law if necessary.

“This is to ensure that there would be no loopholes, should the Sedition Act 1948 be repealed,” he said in response to a question by Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique (BN-Kota Tinggi) at the Dewan Rakyat, here, today.

Mohd Azis added his ministry would conduct more public awareness programmes and carry out studies to enhance existing laws.

According to him, despite efforts by the ministry, there were those who were adamant in causing disorder, especially in regards to religion, race and the royal institution.

“The government will not compromise in matters involving sensitive issues, especially the spread of information that could disrupt the harmony between the various races and religions in the country."

On cases involving religious insults on social media, Azis said a total of 34 cases were reported this year. Three perpetrators have been punished, six undergoing trial, nine cases being reviewed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers, four being investigated by the police and 12 were classified as No Further Action (NFA), he added.

Addressing a separate question by the Kota Tinggi MP, Azis said there were 32 cases related to insults against the royal institution and 30 racial remarks reported this year.

He added the task force established by the police would work closely with other agencies including banks, telecommunication companies, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), as well as foreign firms including social media platform operators Google and Facebook, to tackle the problem.

To a supplementary question by Datuk Johari Abdul (PH-PKR-Sungai Petani), Mohd Azis said currently there are no plans to set up a special court to handle social media abuse-related cases.

“The situation is still manageable and we have sufficient SOPs (standard operating procedures) to tackle the problem. But, we are open to that idea, ” he added.

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