Tian Chua to stand trial in strike bid

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 26, 2013): PKR vice-president Tian Chua failed in his bid to strike out his sedition charge over statements relating to the Lahad Datu intrusion, after a High Court dismissed his application today.

High Court judge Amelia Tee Hong Geok Abdullah said the court was not satisfied that there was sufficient basis for Chua's application, but added that he still has an option of making representation to the public prosecutor.

The trial has been set for Oct 16 and 17 in the sessions court.

In her decision today, the judge agreed with the deputy public prosecutor (DPP) that the Sedition Act 1948, under which Chua is charged, is still in force and any contravention of the act has to be dealt with, even though Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had announced on July 11, 2012 that it will be repealed.

On the matter of politically-motivated prosecution, Tee said there was no evidence presented to support Chua's submission on the failure of the public prosecutor to charge those who were Umno members or supporters, whereas almost all of those charged were from the Opposition parties, such as DAP chairman Karpal Singh and Hindraf chief P. Uthayakumar.

While Chua, whose real name is Chua Tian Chang, had contended that the allegedly seditious words were not uttered against the government but referred to Umno, which is a political party and not an entity that was entitled to protection under the Sedition Act, Tee said the DPP had submitted that the words "kerajaan Umno" and "kerajaan" are references to the "government of the day".

Said Tee: "The court is of the view that the charge, as it stands, is not wrong in law. It is for the prosecution to prove that the words 'kerajaan UMNO' refers to, or can be inferred to refer to, the government or the government of the day. This is clearly a matter to be decided by the trial court."

Chua, who is also the Batu MP, was charged on March 14 for uttering seditious words in relation to the Sulu intrusion in Sabah on March 1. He had claimed trial and filed an application to strike out his charges in the High Court on April 12.

His lawyers, Latheefa Koya and Eric Paulsen, said they will be filing an appeal against today's decision.