PUTRAJAYA, Sept 29 – Batu Member of Parliament Tian Chua will serve one month in jail as meted out by a Session Court for disobeying a police order. This followed an unexpected move by the parliamentary member in deciding to withdraw the final appeal against his conviction and sentence.
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, comprising Justices Datuk Wira Mohtarudin Baki, Datuk Seri Zakaria Sam and Datuk Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil accepted Tian Chua’s wish to withdraw the appeal as it was his right to do so under the Federal Constitution.
Justice Mohtarudin said the conviction, as well as the one-month jail sentence and RM1,000 fine meted out on Tian Chua by the Sessions Court, and then upheld by the High Court, was in accordance with the law. The failure by Tian Chua, 54, who is also PKR vice-president, to obey the police order is an offence, he said.
Justice Mohtarudin subsequently struck out Tian Chua’s appeal and issued a warrant of committal against the parliamentary member. He ordered Tian Chua, whose real name is Chua Tian Chang, to serve his jail term from today. Tian Chua, in blue shirt and black pants, was seen smiling throughout the court proceedings.
He was taken out of the court by two policemen after the proceeding ended and later sent to Kajang Prison at about noon. Tian Chua was found guilty by the Sessions Court on Jan 23, 2014, for refusing to comply with an order from DSP A. Rajagopal to leave the Pulapol area in Jalan Semarak at 2.30am on April 29, 2012, a day after the Bersih 3.0 rally.
The court sentenced him to one month jail and fined RM1,000. He paid the fine. Tian Chua appealed at the High Court, but lost on Nov 30, last year. In the proceedings today, one of his lawyers, N. Surendran, informed the court that they (defence counsel) received instruction to discharge themselves from representing Tian Chua and that Tian Chua wanted to personally address the court.
Besides Surendran, two other lawyers who represented Tian Chua in the case were Latheefa Koya and Shahid Adli Kamarudin. Tian Chua subsequently stood up in the dock and read his prepared statement before informing the court that he was withdrawing his appeal. He said his participation in Bersih had been part of a long journey for a fairer and better Malaysia.
“If the price for changing this repressive and corrupt system is to go to prison, I shall say I am more than ready to accept. At the same time, I would like to emphasise that accepting my prison sentence is not an admission of wrongdoing,” he said. Deputy public prosecutor Nurulhuda Noraini Mohd Nor appeared for the prosecution.
After the proceedings ended, Latheefa Koya told reporters that Tian Chua would be the first sitting member of Parliament in prison. Meanwhile, on Tian Chua’s status as a member of parliament, Surendran said Tian Chua would not be disqualified and would be able to contest in the 14th general election.
He said a member of Parliment could only be disqualified should the elected representative be sentenced to more than a year’s jail or fined more than RM2,000 upon conviction. Tian Chua would likely be released by end of October and would be in time for the Parliament sitting, he added. — Bernama