Election reforms coalition Bersih 2.0 today condemned the eight-month prison sentence meted out on Amanah Youth vice-chief Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar today, saying the verdict was “another huge step backwards for freedom of expression in Malaysia”.
“In the first place, the Attorney General should not have initiated the charged under the flawed Sedition Act,” said the group in a statement.
It added that under A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali who took office last year, majority of the sedition charges had to do with criticism of the government or judiciary despite the 2015 amendments.
“The Najib administration seems to be more interested in cracking down on civil society and activists, although Malaysia is facing the largest corruption scandal in our history,” said Bersih, referring to the 1MDB scandal.
The Sessions Court today sentenced Fakhrulrazi to eight months imprisonment after finding him guilty of making a seditious speech at the #KitaLawan rally last year.
He was accused of saying that the country’s judiciary was controlled by the government, during a speech on February 21 in front of the Sogo complex in Kuala Lumpur
He claimed trial last year for the charge under section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act.
The court however granted a stay of execution with a bail of RM5,000, pending his appeal.
Meanwhile, Selangor DAP Youth said the court’s decision was an affront to democracy and human rights, said
The movement’s leader Teh Hoong Keat expressed solidarity for Fakhrulrazi, saying the court verdict was an another dark chapter for the country’s democracy.
“DAPSY Selangor in solidarity with Ustaz Fakhrulrazi strongly condemns the government’s continued abuse of the Sedition Act by targetting politicians and social activists,” said Teh.
Besides Fakhrulrazi, eight other activists including Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and its manager Mandeep Singh were also charged for participating in the #KitaLawan rally last year.