KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Rembau division chairman Badrul Hisham Shaharin better known as Chegubard and two others were given discharge not amounting to acquittal ((DNAA) by the Sessions Court here Monday from a charge of organising an illegal rally on New Year’s Eve to protest price hikes of goods and the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Judge Azman Mustapha made the decision after allowing an application from defence counsel Melissa Sasidaran for the DNAA following the Court of Appeal on Friday ruling that Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 was unconstitutional.
Azman said the court agreed with counsel that it would not be fair to proceed with the charge against Chegubard, 35, who is also the chairman of non-governmental organisation Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) chairman Mohamed Bukhairy Mohamed Sofian, 23, and SAMM propaganda director, Edy Nor Reduan, 33. The were alleged to have committed the offence at Dataran Merdeka, Jalan Raja here between 9pm on Dec 31 2013 and 1am on Jan 1. According to the charge, they failed to give 10 days notice on the assembly to the Dang Wangi police chief and as such, had contravened the PAA.
They faced a maximum fine of RM10,000 each, if convicted. The Court of Appeal on Friday had allowed an appeal by Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad to strike out a similar charge against him for organising a Black 505 rally (a rally calling for electoral reform). In a landmark judgement, it ruled that the police could impose restrictions on such rallies but not punish organisers by prosecuting them for failing to comply with the 10-day notice requirement.