The 1948 Sedition Act is not a law passed by Parliament and it is therefore unconstitutional, UM associate professor Azmi Sharom's legal team told the sessions court in Kuala Lumpur today.
Lead counsel Gobind Singh Deo said the colonial-era law restricts freedom of expression ,which is guaranteed under the Article 10 (1) of the Federal Constitution.
Gobind said Article 10 (2) of the Federal Constitution states that only Parliament has the power to impose restrictions to these rights.
"Azmi Sharom is charged under the Sedition Act, which is the product of the Law Reform Commission, so we have to decide if this product not passed by Parliament is constitutional," Gobind argued.
Countering his argument, Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim said Article 162 of the Federal Constitution states laws passed before the independence “shall, until repealed by the authority having power to do so under this Constitution, continue in force on and after Merdeka Day”.
However, Gobind (left) rebutted: “The position they take seems to suggest that, if it is pre-Merdeka, it stands, because of Article 162 (of the Constitution).
“That's a general reading of 162. The question is, if it is unconstitutional, does it still remain by virtue of Article 162? It cannot be, because it's unconstitutional.”
The sessions court will decide on Oct 1 whether to transfer Azmi Sharom's case to the High Court.
Azmi, who was charged under the Sedition Act, is challenging the Act's constitutionality.
He was charged under Section 4 (1)(b) of the Sedition Act, with an alternative charge under Section 4 (1)(c) of the same Act, for a seditious statement made on Aug 15.
He is accused of writing the seditious statement in an article titled 'Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told', which was published by the Malay Mail Online news portal.