Freedom of Speech, Assembly and Association

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ARTICLE 10 – FREEDOM OF SPEECH, ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION

♠ Under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution , 3 rights are given ie

o Freedom of speech & expression
o Freedom of assembly
o Freedom of association

Freedom of speech & expression

♠ Freedom of speech is not absolute because of the need to balance the needs/ interests of the society/ community as a whole.

Case of PP v Ooi Kee Saik (1971) per Raja Azlan Shah J,

“ There cannot be such a thing as absolute or uncontrolled liberty wholly free from restraint; for that would lead to anarchy and disorder. The possession and enjoyment of all rights are subject to such reasonable conditions as may be deemed to be ….. essential to the safety, health, peace and general order and morals of the community. What the Constitution attempts to do in declaring the rights of the people is to strike a balance between liberty and social control.” ♠ Article 10(1)(a) – right to freedom of speech & expression, includes oral communication, written communication, signs, symbols, art work, sculptures, music, lyrics, videos, photos, magazines, newspapers. Could also include “symbolic speech”. ♠ Does it also include the right to have information?

♠ The right to freedom of speech is given to citizens, both natural and legal persons (if incorporated or established in Malaysia)

♠ Non citizens do not have the right to freedom of speech. Therefore it is not unconstitutional to prohibit or restrict foreign publication under Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984.

♠ Limitations/ Restrictions imposed on freedom of speech and expression under the Federal Constitution:-

• Under Article 10(2)(a) – 8 grounds
o Security of the Federation or any part thereof.

Official Secrets Act 1972, Internal Security Act 1960, Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984

o Friendly relations with other countries

o Public order
Sedition Act 1948, Police Act 1967, Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984

o Morality

Film (Censorship) Act 1952, Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia Act 1981

o Privileges of Parliament and legislative assembly The House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 and Standing Orders of both houses of Parliament.

o Contempt of court

Courts of Judicature Act 1964

o Defamation

Defamation Act 1957

o Incitement to any offence

Section 292-294 of the Penal Code – obscenity Section 298A of the Penal Code – causing disharmony, disunity on grounds of religion.

• Under Article 10(4) – 4 grounds – restriction imposed with regards to 4 sensitive matters o Citizenship
o Status of the Malay language
o Position and privileges given to the Malays and Natives of Sabah & Sarawak. o The prerogatives of the Malay Rulers and the Ruling Chiefs of Negeri Sembilan

• Under Article 149 – powers given to Parliament to combat subversion. • Under Article 150 – powers given to Parliament during emergency.

♠ Sedition Act 1948
• Amended in 1989

• Section 2(1) & 3 – any act, speech, words or publication seditious if they have the tendency to

1. Bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against any Ruler or Government Case of PP v Param Cumaraswamy (1986) 1 MLJ 512

Respondent was charged with uttering seditious words, an offence under the Sedition Act, 1948. An act, speech, words, publication or other thing shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency — (a)to show that any Ruler has been misled or mistaken in any of his measures; b) to point our errors or defects...
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