Mat Sabu to face criminal charge over communist remarks

(The Malaysian Insider) – Mohamad Sabu will be charged in court tomorrow over remarks allegedly glorifying communist guerillas who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950.

The PAS deputy president will be charged with public mischief under section 505 of the Penal Code in the Butterworth Sessions Court.

Contacted by The Malaysian Insider, Mohamad’s lawyer Hanipa Maidin confirmed that police have informed his client of the charge.

“Yes, we have been informed of it. Mat Sabu and I will be there,” he said.

Umno’s Utusan Malaysia had first accused the maverick politician of glorifying Ahmad Indera in an August 27 report that quoted Mohamad as saying that the communist leader was a true hero.

Twenty-five policemen were killed in the attack on the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950.

The daily and Malay hardliners in Umno have repeatedly called for Mohamad to be charged over the comment with some even insisting that the PAS leader be stripped of his citizenship. 

Mohamad’s remarks have sparked debate over who were Malaysia’s independence fighters.

But Mohamad denies glorifying communists, saying he never mentioned “communism” in his speech.

His Pakatan Rakyat (PR) colleagues have admitted that Mohamad’s remarks had given their rivals in Barisan Nasional (BN) an opening to attack them.

BN had been on the defensive for months following surging inflation and international condemnation of the government’s crackdown on the July 9 Bersih rally.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a raft of reforms last week to give Malaysians more freedom but Mohamad’s prosecution may spark fears of a crackdown against dissent.