Man claims trial to displaying King's picture when charge re-read

HULU SELANGOR, A 66-year-old man claimed trial at the Kuala Kubu Baharu Magistrate's Court to a charge of displaying a picture of His Majesty, the King of Malaysia, Sultan Ibrahim, during the recent Kuala Kubu Baharu (KKB) by-election campaign.

P. Ramasamy, 66, made the plea after the charge was re-read in Tamil on Thursday (May 30) before Magistrate Siti Fatimah Talib, following the Shah Alam High Court's dismissal of his earlier guilty plea at the same court.

Ramasamy is accused of displaying the King's picture and carrying a Pakatan Harapan banner in a four-wheel drive vehicle around Taman Bukit Bunga at 5.40 pm on May 4, allegedly to create enmity among different voter groups, to convince them to vote for the coalition's candidate.

He was charged under Section 4(A)1 of the Election Offenses Act 1954, which is punishable by up to five years imprisonment or a maximum fine of RM10,000, or both, upon conviction.

Deputy public prosecutor Asmah Che Wan proposed bail at RM10,000 with one surety, while the accused's lawyer N. Rajesh pleaded for a lower sum on the gounds that his client is an elderly person without a stable income, and is supported by his children.

Siti Fatimah allowed bail at RM4,000 with one surety and set June 19 as case mention for document submission.

On May 6, Ramasamy was sentenced to one month in prison and fined RM3,000 by the KKB Magistrate's Court after he pleaded guilty to the charges without legal representation.

The court then ordered Ramasamy, who is self-employed, to serve the prison sentence from the date of his arrest (May 4), and serve an additional 10 months if he fails to settle the fine.

On May 23, the Shah Alam High Court allowed Ramasamy's application for a review of his earlier guilty plea.

Chief Justice Dr. Wendy Ooi Su Ghee dismissed his guilty plea and ordered the case to be remitted for trial at the KKB Magistrate's Court.

She stated that Ramasamy did not grasp the implications of his guilty plea given the presented mitigation, thus rendering the plea conditional. - Bernama

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