by V Anbalagan
The Malaysian Insider
April 04, 2014
Veteran lawyer Karpal Singh, who was fined RM4,000 for sedition last month, could now be jailed after prosecution filed a cross appeal, urging the court to impose a stiffer penalty.
Karpal was found guilty of sedition and fined by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on March 11.
However, he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that he received a copy of the notice of appeal filed by the prosecution, urging the Court of Appeal to enhance the sentence.
“They want me in jail,” said Karpal, who stepped down as DAP chairman following the conviction and sentence last month.
“Well, they are entitled to file a cross appeal.”
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider yesterday, the 73-year-old wheelchair-bound lawyer said the Court of Appeal could impose the maximum RM5,000 fine or sentence him to jail which could be up to three years.
An accused convicted of sedition could be fined, ordered to prison, or both.
Karpal had earlier filed his appeal against both the conviction and sentence.
He committed the offence based on a statement at a press conference on February 6, 2009, commenting on the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah’s decision to remove the then Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin from office.
On February 21, High Court judge Datuk Paduka Azman Abdullah found Karpal guilty and on March 11 imposed a RM4,000 fine although deputy public prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin pressed for a deterrent sentence.
Karpal now risk losing his Bukit Gelugor parliamentary seat unless the appeal court reduced the fine to less than RM2,000.
Under the Federal Constitution, an elected representative is disqualified from office if fined more than RM2,000 or jailed for a term exceeding one year.
Karpal’s conviction and sentence has been condemned by local and foreign lawyers groups like the International Commission of Jurist (ICJ), Malaysian Bar Council and Lawyers for Liberty.
The Geneva-based ICJ said the Malaysian government was brazenly utilising a draconian and outdated sedition law to restrict freedom of expression in the country by lawyers and public figures. – April 4, 2014.