KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan, was charged on Monday under the Sedition Act for his criticism against the judiciary at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court.
Judge Amernudin Ahmad decided that bail would be set at RM5000 while the court also set Dec 22 for mention.
Arutchelvan was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act while an alternative charge under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 was added.
He is being charged after he had condemned the Federal Court’s decision on a Facebook post following Anwar’s sodomy conviction on Feb 10, while acting as the party secretary-general.
He had previously been and arrested under the Sedition Act on Feb 19.
However he was released the following day after a four-day remand was rejected by the magistrate’s court.
Arutchelvan claimed trial to the charges.
Speaking to reporters after the case, Arutchelvan defended what he had posted on Facebook by saying that he was merely reflecting PSM’s position on the Federal Court’s decision on Anwar’s trial.
“Charging someone for sedition for such a thing goes against free speech which is a fundamental human right,” he said.
Arutchelvan also told reporters that the party had previously responded to good jugements on cases positively.
“As a responsible political party, we have the right to make criticisms on bad judgements,” he said.
Arutchelvan also said that his charge was simply another political prosecution and suggested that it was a waste of public funds and time to prosecute him under the act.
Talking about the Sedition Act, he said that there was already a proposition to amend the act to exclude the charge of sedition from including criticism against the judiciary and the executive.
His lawyer New Sin Yew also suggested that the parliament had already recognised that the act was not in the public’s interest.
“The Sedition Act when it comes to criticising and inciting dissatisfaction with the administration of justice, which includes the judiciary, has been amended under the new act but has not come into force,” added New.