Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said it was not just about protecting the Muslims and the Malays but all the other races, too.
“We ensure the enforcement of the Act will be fair to everyone so that all who transgress and do not respect the other races and religions will have action taken against them according to the law,” he said at the People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) 61st annual general meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday.
The decision to retain the Act, said Najib, had nothing to do with keeping Barisan Nasional in power.
“At the end of the day, we realise that the protection of Barisan lies not with the Sedition Act but with the people of Malaysia.”
Najib reiterated that Barisan would continue to make and enact policies that were fundamentally moderate in their stance and position.
“I want us to remember that above all, we are a political party. We must be electable and have the support of the people,” he said. “And for that to happen, we must ensure that our policies are well accepted by the people.”
He said even developed countries were not immune to religious and racial tensions and as such, laws were needed to maintain the security and stability of a country.
“Not too long ago, there was a racial riot in the heart of London and in the last couple of days, you can see massive demonstrations across the United States, where vehicles and stores were left burning and looting took place everywhere.
“God forbid, if such a thing were to happen in Malaysia; it can turn out to be ugly,” he said.
On Thursday, Najib, who is also Umno president, announced at the party’s general assembly that the Act would not only be retained but would be strengthened to protect the sanctity of Islam as well as other religions.
He said the outcome of the assembly had resulted in the Government’s commitment, under Barisan, that all its policies would be based on the principle of wasatiyyah.
“It means that it will be moderate, balanced and believe in the pursuit of excellence,” he said.
In his remarks, PPP president Tan Sri M. Kayveas assured the party’s full support for Najib’s decision to retain the Act.
The Act should be retained, he added, to keep the country moving forward as it could help maintain peace and unity among the various races.
“PPP will not be like some half-hearted, cautious soothsayers but instead, we will give our full support,” he said.
Malaysia, said Kayveas, was unique in that every race got to maintain its name, language, festivals and cultures.
“We hope that the moderates can rise, speak up and stand up against certain irresponsible groups that want to destroy and bring us down,” he said.