Historian Thum Pingtjin and lawyer Sui Yi Siong Sui debated the recently passed Protection of Justice (Administration) Act in a BBC programme earlier today. While Mr Sui, a Legal Associate at Harry Elias Partnership, argued in support of the Act, Mr Thum, a Research Associate at the Centre for Global History and coordinator of Project Southeast Asia at the University of Oxford, argued that its the innocent (not the guilty) who’d be most affected by the law.

Commenting on the discussion in his Facebook, Mr Thum said:

“My central point was that it is not the guilty who should fear the law, but the innocent. Changing the law to a seizable offence means that anyone who is innocent but charged with the offense can still potentially be arrested, have their homes searched, belongings seized, undergo a lengthy interrogation, and a lengthy expensive court trial. This is problematic especially in light of how in recent years the Attorney-General has more aggressively pursued potential contempt of court cases, as well as numerous amendments to laws which have given the government increased arbitrary power to curtail freedom of speech.”