AG to proceed with Karpal’s sedition charge

(Bernama) – The Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) has decided to proceed with the sedition charge against Karpal Singh. Karpal Singh (pic) was charged with uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak, under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948, three years ago.

Jagdeep Singh Deo who acted for Karpal Singh told the court that the defence had submitted a letter of representation to the AGC on July 19.

“However, the defence received a response from the AGC dated July 26 directing us to proceed with the charge,” he informed High Court Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah.

The court also heard submissions from Karpal Singh to strike out his sedition charge during today’s proceedings.

Karpal Singh applied to subpoena former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad, Pasir Mas member of parliament (MP) Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim and Pendang MP Datuk Osman Abdul, among others.

The court fixed Aug 24 to hear his application to subpoena them.

The Bukit Gelugor MP submitted that under Article 8(1) of the Federal Constitution all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.

“When having regard to the law then prevailing, the Government moved to take away the immunity of the Rulers from legal redress by setting up the Special Court and enacted the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 1993 in a Dewan Rakyat debate on Jan 18 and 19 1993,” he said.

He contended that Dr Mahathir and the MPs had committed sedition on a wide scale during the debate but were not prosecuted by the then AG, despite there being no immunity for criminal prosecution for whatever was said in Parliament.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Azlina Rasdi submitted that based on Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution stated that the AG had a wide discretion to initiate, conduct or halt any proceedings for a particular offence.

And furthermore, although Article 8(1) stated the law could not discriminate against a class of people or individual, it may be allowed if there is a rational basis for it.

Azlina said Karpal Singh’s contention of the 1993 debate by Dr Mahathir and the MPs differed from today’s case.

“What was said in Parliament at the time was purely as a matter of debate and had no other intention whatsoever. It was said within the confines of the Dewan Rakyat,” she added.

Whereas, the applicant (Karpal Singh) made his statement at a press conference organized by himself and also distributed the said statement to those attending, she said.

It was moreover made at a time when the political situation in Perak was uncertain, she added.

“This application is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process,” she concluded.