Seditious Acts in Malaysia

Amanda Whiting has written an excellent piece on Malaysia’s Sedition Act in New Mandala. Among the many important observations and reminders, we have

  1. Malaysia’s Sedition Act is not an Act, and Malaysia did not enact it.
  2. Its main use was initially to detain communists, but now it is used to detain those threatening “communal harmony.” In Malaysia this tends to mean those critiquing ketuanan Melayu, although there is no reason why that need be the case.
  3. The use of the Sedition Act has grown since the abolishment of the Internal Security Act.

If you’re interested in any of these observations, I recommend that you read Whiting’s entire essay.

I would like to know if anyone has compiled—or knows how to compile—a full list of all individuals detained between 1948 and today under the ISA, the Sedition Act, and other related tools like the Official Secrets Act; or for violating the Universities and University College Act, the Societies Act, and so forth (see political process, application of coercion in). For state secrets reasons this might be impossible, but it would be fascinating to chart the evolution of such instruments of state control over time in a more systematic manner.