PUTRAJAYA, Aug 11 (Bernama) -- The authorities should take firm action against anyone who insults Islam or gives rise to any situation of a seditious nature as there are adequate laws to prosecute such people, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said on Tuesday.
The existing provisions, either under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 or under the Penal Code, could be used in this case, he said.
Anyone found to have violated the existing laws should be investigated and, if the attorney-general so decided, should be prosecuted, he told reporters after opening a seminar on the 1Malaysia concept organised by the ministry in collaboration with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), here.
"We have heard of too many complaints, related to insulting religion or giving rise to any situation of a seditious nature, but do not see any appropriate action taken by the authorities.
"This is the time for them (the authorities) to carry out their task," he added.
Dr Rais was asked to comment on the alleged insult of Islam by a certain individual who had responded to the view of freelance religious speaker Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah on the issue of child born out of wedlock.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday directed the authorities to immediately investigate the statement allegedly insulting Islam carried on a blog recently.
Dr Rais said his ministry supported Najib's call for firm, effective and quick action in the matter, adding that such action should also be taken against people who spread lies on the Internet or resorted to pornography and so on because it would teach people to be careful when using the cyber tool.
On the Permatang Pasir state by-election in Penang on Aug 25, Dr Rais said the Barisan Nasional (BN) was confident it could reduce the 5,433-vote majority garnered by the opposition in the general election last year.
He said the people in Penang could see for themselves the situation in the state today, adding that there was no improvement in the service to the people.
In this connection, Dr Rais said he hoped that this would remind the people of Penang to give BN the opportunity to continue with its record of good service to the people.
On the Influenza H1N1 pandemic, he said the best way to disseminate facts on the disease was in an organised manner and not by sensationalising the matter.
He said educating the people on the importance of adopting preventive measures, such as wearing masks, should be stepped up, and that this should be done not only through the radio and television but also in schools and by non-governmental organisations and government departments.
"Right now, we have yet to embrace a culture of using masks, but perhaps this could be the first step to be implemented," he said.
Dr Rais also said that the ministry would conduct 1Malaysia seminars for the people, particularly in new villages and traditional villages, including in Felda schemes, and for city folk.
"We realise that criticism of the concept is from a political angle. As such, we will come up with convincing arguments to show that 1Malaysia is a concept which advocates one for all and all for one.