Tuesday, November 19

Sept 26 decision on Tian Chua’s application to quash sedition charge

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Tian Chua

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here yesterday set Sept 26 for decision on an application by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PRK) vice-president Tian Chua to strike out a sedition charge against him over his statements on the intrusion incident in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

Judge Datuk Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah set the date after hearing submissions by lawyer Eric Paulsen, representing Tian Chua, and deputy public prosecutor Yusaini Amer Abdul Karim.

Paulsen submitted that the charge against his client was unlawful, malicious or with mala fide, politically motivated and an abuse of the court process. He said the charge against Tian Chua was against public policy as his client was a member of parliament and an opposition politician who had used his freedom of speech and other rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

“The applicant has carried out his responsibility to society and country in conducting a check and balance of the government’s actions in line with the democratic practice in this country,” he added.

Meanwhile, Yusaini said the case should be heard first so that the prosecution witnesses could give their testimony in court. He said it was the duty of the Sessions Court judge to determine whether the elements in the charge made against the applicant had been met. Tian Chua, whose real names is Chua Tian Chang, 50, filed the application on April 12, this year.

On March 14, he pleaded not guilty to making statements, including claiming that the shootings in Lahad Datu were a planned conspiracy by Umno to divert attention and to frighten the people.

Tian Chua, who is Batu member of parliament, is charged with committing the offence at No. 62-2-A Fraser Business Park, Jalan Metro Pudu, off Jalan Yew, here, at 11am on March 1.

The charge, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 (Act 15) and punishable under Section 4(1) of the same act, carries a fine of RM5,000 or three years’ jail or both for first-time offenders and five years’ jail for a subsequent offence. — Bernama