PUTRAJAYA: The Government can proceed with its appeal against a Court of Appeal decision striking down a provision in the Sedition Act 1948.
This follows a ruling by the Federal Court made on Wednesday to grant the Government leave to appeal against the decision made by the Court of Appeal last November which declares that section 3(3) of the Act is unconstitutional.
Federal Court judge Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin allowed the government's application after counsel for Sri Muda assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram did not oppose the Government's leave application.
Federal Court judges Justice Abu Samah Nordin and Justice Zaharah Ibrahim were the other two judges presiding with Zulkefli.
In proceedings before the court, Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and the team of Government lawyers submitted three questions for the Federal Court to decide, including one as to whether Section 3(3) of the Act is invalid as it contravenes Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
Section 3(3) states that the prosecution does not have to prove a person's intention to commit sedition in order to secure a conviction, as it merely has to prove that the remarks or actions of the accused have a seditious tendency.
In hearings before Court of Appeal judge Justice Lim Yee Lan last year, the Court of Appeal ruled that Section 3(3) was invalid as it violated Article 10 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the right to free speech and expression.
The effect of the Court of Appeal ruling is that the prosecution now has to prove the intent of the accused before a person can be convicted of sedition.
Mat Shuhaimi brought the constitutional challenge against the Sedition Act after he was charged with sedition on Feb 7 2011 for a blog posting he allegedly made on Dec 30 2010. - Bernama