2016 landmark decision on sedition quashed

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has quashed a 2016 landmark decision by an appeals court that intention must be proven in every sedition case.

This means the law is back to allowing for conviction once it is proven that the accused had made the seditious statement.

A five-judge bench led by Chief Judge of Malaya Justice Ahmad Maarop yesterday in allowing the Government’s appeal, set aside the Court of Appeal judgment, making Section 3(3) of the Sedition Act valid again.

The section was ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal and violated the constitutional right of freedom of speech.

The bench ruled that an application by Sri Muda assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei to declare Section 3 as unconstitutional was instead an abuse of court process.

The application filed in 2015 had led to the landmark judgment and appeal after that.

The court then ordered the trial of Mat Shuhaimi, charged with posting seditious words on his blog, to proceed at the Shah Alam Sessions Court.

Mat Shuhaimi, 49, pleaded not guilty on Feb 7, 2011 to posting a seditious article on his blog on the appointment of Datuk Mohd Khus­rin Munawi as the new Selangor state secretary.

The PKR assemblyman is accused of committing the offence at Pusat Khidmat Rakyat, Jalan Anggerik Vanilla, Kota Kemuning, Shah Alam, on Dec 30, 2010.

On Feb 22 last year, the Federal Court granted the Government leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s ruling.

The three-man panel led by Court of Appeal president Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin allowed the leave application after Mat Shuhai­mi’s lawyers led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram did not object to the legal questions proposed by the Govern­ment.

Following the Court of Appeal’s landmark decision in 2016, the Attorney-General’s Chambers im­­­me­­­diately filed an appeal as many pending sedition cases were grossly affected.

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