— Freedom of speech and expression in an ethical and mature manner must be practiced in the interests and well-being of the ummah, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
“The goal of communication of ummah is to use wisdom in communicating, to give good lessons, and to reprimand and criticise in a prudent and civilised manner, despite differing opinions,” he said in a statement today.
Saifuddin said freedom of speech was an important fundamental principle in society and the practice of democracy in the country, and the government clearly upholds the right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
He said that the allegation that the government was restraining critics from speaking out was not true at all, because there was criticism in various forms such as satirical works and writings that were critical of the government, but no action had been taken thus far.
In fact, he said that such criticism was also reported by the media in general and shared on social media, without hindrance from the government.
“The government also accepts criticism openly, and cares about criticism that is geared towards the welfare and well-being of the people,” he said.
However, he said that freedom of speech and expression did not mean allowing seditious views or arguments that deliberately provoked chaos and insults, let alone insulting the Royal Institution, as alleged in several recent cases.
“We must be able to distinguish between criticism and insults. We also must not set aside our social responsibility in society,” he said.
“Ethics and maturity in presenting views and arguments should be practiced by all of us in the interests and well-being of the ummah,” he said.
Saifuddin also called on all parties to support the principle of unity and mutual respect, in order to maintain harmony and an atmosphere of goodwill in society.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency