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Harmony bill needs study, not ready this year, says minister

Harmony bill needs study, not ready this year, says minister

The National Harmony Bill, among the laws being proposed to replace the Sedition Act 1948, may not be ready this year as it needs more scrutiny before it can be tabled in Parliament, said a minister.

“We need to really consider…(it) is better to have something that is really useful to the people, something that will help (to unite) the people instead of causing more break ups among the people. You see that what is happening now is provocation through the social media,” Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri (pic), was quoted as saying by Bernama.

The bill is among two other bills proposed to replace the Sedition Act 1948. They are the Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill, which outlaws hate speech, and the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill, which sets out the scope of the body which will hear discrimination disputes before they go to court.

The three bills have been submitted to Nancy by the National Unity Consultative Council’s Policies to Promote National Harmony and Legislation Committee.
Some quarters have voiced reservations about the bill while calling for Sedition Act to be maintained.

Last month, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he wanted certain elements in the Sedition Act to be incorporated.

“Racial, religious and cultural issues should be comprehensively covered in the National Harmony Act,” said Zahid.

Nancy said it was difficult to set a time frame for the completion of the bill’s draft, adding that the Attorney-General’s Chamber was still studying feedback from various parties, and working with the National Unity
Department. – August 5, 2014.

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