Monday, October 5, 2015

Back Azmi's challenge against Sedition Act, public urged

Koh Jun Lin 

University of Malaya (UM) student group Progressive has urged members of the public to come to the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya tomorrow to show support for the law lecturer Azmi Sharom.
It said that the Federal Court decision that Azmi is facing tomorrow will be a ‘test of strength’ for Malaysia’s judiciary, for it to win public confidence and to assure that human rights are being upheld in the country.
“Victory for Azmi means freedom for all as the Sedition Act can no longer be used to silence the voice of the people.
“Defeat will only mean we will have to carry on the fight for a more democratic Malaysia against the Sedition Act in the near future,” said the group’s secretary-general Vince Tan (photo), at a press conference on UM’s main campus in Petaling Jaya today.
Azmi had made a bid at the Federal Court to challenge the constitutionality of the Sedition Act 1948, after he was charged at the High Court under the same act for making an allegedly seditious statement on Aug 15 last year.
The case concerns comments that the UM law faculty associate professor had allegedly made to Malay Mail Online regarding the Selangor Menteri Besar Crisis brewing at the time, which was consequently published in an article titled ‘Take Perak crisis route for speedy end to Selangor impasse, Pakatan told’.
After the final submissions were made on March 15 this year, the apex court had reserved its judgement, but a decision is expected tomorrow morning.
The questions referred to the Federal Court by the Kuala Lumpur High Court are:
· Whether Section (4)(1) of the Sedition Act is contradictory to Section 10 (2) of the constitution. If so, it should be cancelled; and
· Whether the Act itself is valid and in force according to the Federal Constitution.
To a question, Tan said if the ruling tomorrow is not is Azmi’s favour, the Progressive and the Abolish Sedition Act Movement (GHAH) would continue to campaign against the act, particularly through awareness campaigns and forums.
Whatever it is, (if) we can do, we’ll do, towards abolishing the Sedition Act,” he said.

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