Federal Court rules Sedition Act constitutional, UM’s Azmi Sharom to stand trial

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 6 — Universiti Malaya law lecturer Dr Azmi Sharom lost today his constitutional challenge against the Sedition Act 1948 and will have to stand trial for issuing an allegedly seditious remark.

In dismissing Azmi’s bid, the Federal Court ruled this morning that the British-enacted law remains a constitutional and valid piece of legislation.

It also ruled that Section 4 of the Sedition Act under which Azmi was charged is constitutional.

“In short, we hold that Section 4(1) does not run counter to Article 10(2) of the Federal Constitution,” Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria said when reading out the judgment.

The five-man panel headed by Arifin includes Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong and Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar.

On September 2 last year, Azmi pleaded not guilty to the principal charge under Section 4(1)(b) and an alternative charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for a remark he made in an article published on Malay Mail Online.

Section 4(1)(b) covers “uttering any seditious words” while Section 4(1)(c) deals with individuals who publish seditious publications, among other things.

If convicted under either charge for his quotes in the article titled “Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told”, the UM associate professor could face a maximum fine of RM5,000, a maximum three-year jail term or both.

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