KUALA LUMPUR: Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad pleaded not guilty to a sedition charge over remarks on the Selangor Sultan and the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais), making him the third opposition politician to be charged with making seditious and defamatory remarks in the last seven days.
PKR vice-president N Surendran was charged with sedition on Aug 19 over his remarks on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial.
Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who is also from PAS, was charged on Monday with defaming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a speech two years ago.
Sessions judge Aswarnida Affandi set bail for Khalid at RM4,000 with one surety and fixed Sept 22 for mention.
The charge under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or a maximum jail term of three years, or both.
As such, Khalid risks disqualification as an MP if he is found guilty and fined more than RM2,000 or jailed for more than a year.
Present in court yesterday to support Khalid were former Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and PAS central committee member Dr Hatta Ramli.
On June 26, Khalid called for the Enactment on Islamic Laws Administration (Enactment No 3, 1952) and the Islamic Religion Administration Enactment 2003 to be reviewed.
He made the call after Mais failed to follow the attorney-general’s decision that the Iban- and Malay-language Bibles seized by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) should be returned to The Bible Society of Malaysia.
On July 15, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor said Khalid was rude for questioning his position as the head of Islam in the state.
“The Shah Alam MP should not have questioned Mais’ executive powers and suggested that the Pakatan Rakyat government abolish its executive powers. I am saddened and disappointed with this irresponsible statement,” the ruler said.
Khalid said he would apologise to the Sultan if his remarks were understood by the ruler to be challenging his powers.
But, he was sticking to his view that the Selangor government should review Mais’ executive powers, adding that it was not his intention to challenge the Sultan’s powers, but to protect the royal institution from any criticism should Mais err in its duties.
As Khalid walked out of the courthouse in Jalan Duta a youth allegedly spat on him, witnesses said.
He was walking with his wife and Kuala Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad when the incident occurred.
Bahrin, who spoke to The Malaysian Insider, was concerned over security at the courthouse.
“Where was the security, aren’t we all entitled to protection under the law?”
Bahrin and Khalid’s wife tried to protect him during the incident, in which the perpetrators were said to have followed them all the way to the car park.
Bahrin said it was regrettable that Khalid was not accorded protection by the court security personnel during the incident. — The Malaysian Insider
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 27, 2014.