Bersih 2.0, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections, has condemned the conviction of Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions court earlier today. The Youth Vice-chief of Parti Amanah Negara was sentenced to eighs months’ jail under the Sedition Act 1948 for calling for the release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the #KitaLawan rally last year.
It says the conviction is another huge step backwards for freedom of expression in Malaysia. In the first place, the Attorney-General should not have initiated the charged under the flawed Sedition Act, it adds.
Since Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali took office, majority of the sedition cases had to do with criticism of the government or the administration of justice which had been repealed under the 2015 amendments, says a statement issued by Bersih.
Besides Fakhrulrazi, eight other activists which includes Bersih2.0 Chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and BERSIH2.0 Manager Mandeep Singh were also charged for participating in the #KitaLawan rally last year.
“The Najib administration seems to be more interested in cracking down on civil society and activists, although Malaysia is facing the largest corruption scandal in our history. To date, not a single arrest or charge were made with regards to the 1MDB scandal,”the statement reads.
“Bersih 2.0 supports the Abolish The Sedition Act Movement (GHAH)’s demands for the immediate review and dropping of all existing sedition charges, and a moratorium on any further sedition charges pending a full review of the Act and its abolishment.”
In the judgment, Judge Shamsudin Abdullah said the seditious words used by Mohd Fakhrulrazi stirred hatred and disloyalty to the country’s administration.
“The punishment meted is to give a lesson to the accused and those with tendency to commit the same offence, and taking into account public interest,” he said.
The court allowed a stay of the sentence pending an appeal at the High Court, but increased the bail from RM1,000 to RM5,000 with one surety.
On Sept 8 last year, Mohd Fakhrulrazi claimed trial to committing the offence in front of Sogo Complex in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman here at 4.30pm on Feb 21, 2015.
On Oct 16 in 2014, nearly 500 Malaysian lawyers rook to the streets and rallied against the Sedition Act 1948, saying it was misused to quell dissent against the government.
The Heat Malaysia