KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5 – The Kuala Lumpur High Court will begin to hear the file suit today, issued by Universiti Malaya lecturer, Associate Professor Dr. Azmi Sharom to challenge Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948 that is claimed to be against the freedom of speech as outlined in the Federal Constitution. The case is set for hearing before Judge Kamardin Hashim for two days, today and tomorrow. Azmi is represented by lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo.
This case has become a concern because it will be a test case for all other criminal prosecutions related to the same law as has been alleged in the court recently. Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on October 1, last year allowed Azmi’s application to transfer the charges against him to the High Court to challenge the prosecution against him from the Federal Constitution standpoint.
Azmi was charged for making seditious statements as published in The Malay Mail Online on August 14, 2014. His remarks were on the 2009 Perak Menteri Besar crisis. He pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Azmi could be fined up to RM5,000 with imprisonment not exceeding three years or both. Besides Azmi, Padang Serai MP, N. Surendran and Seri Muda Assemblyman, Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei reportedly also filed a same petition challenging the validity of the Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948 in terms of the constitution.
Kajang Sessions Court on October 12 last year, adjourned the prosecution proceedings against the President of the Muslim Association of Malaysia (ISMA), Abdul Rahman Abdullah Zaik while awaiting the Kuala Lumpur High Court to make a decision on the declaration sought by Azmi. Gobind in his reaction at that moment urged all cases charged under the Sedition Act to be suspended because if Azmi were to emerge triumphant in his appeal, all the other criminal proceedings would be void.