SINGAPORE--A 17-year-old has been charged under the Sedition Act in Singapore, for making inflammatory remarks against Malays and Muslims in his blog. The private school student is the third citizen to be charged under the Act over a week.
Two Singaporeans were hauled up last week for posting racist remarks in an online forum and a personal blog.
In the most recent case, the blogger faces seven charges for posting seditious remarks between April and July this year. He is currently out on bail, and his case will be heard in court on Sep. 20.
According to local media reports published over the weekend, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that race, language and religion remain sensitive issues in the island-state, and the government will take action against those that threaten racial and religious harmony.
His administration, he noted, would be sending the wrong signals if it did not act against the three Singaporeans alleged to have made racist remarks.
Lee added that there was a need to educate the young about the importance of multi-racialism in Singapore, for them to understand that "there are certain limits" and everyone should "respect one another".
His deputy, Wong Kan Seng, announced separately that the government will review the legislation for offences that could incite racial or religious enmity. Wong said the penalty stated under Sedition Act could be outdated as the last review was conducted 20 years ago.
He noted that the penalty could be increased, or new legislation could be introduced into the Act. The current law states that anyone found guilty under the Sedition Act will face a fine of up to S$5,000 (US$2,978) or a jail term of up to three years, or both.