PETALING JAYA: Netizens have taken to Twitter to protest Batu MP Tian Chua’s conviction for sedition today.
Many found the conviction under the Sedition Act, over remarks made in a speech at an event following the last general election (GE13), unfair and undemocratic.
The PKR vice-president was sentenced to three months’ jail and fined RM1,800 for the offence. The sentence and fine is below the one-year and RM2,000 threshold that could have disqualified him from remaining as the Batu MP.
Commenting on these developments, Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) Executive Director Eric Paulsen tweeted that democracy was an illusion in Malaysia.
“Adam, Safwan, Haris, Isham & Tian who spoke at post GE13 forum have all been convicted of sedition. Any illusions Msia still democratic?” he tweeted, referring to others previously convicted – Adam Adli, Safwan Anang, Haris Ibrahim and Hishamudin Rais.
LFL Legal Coordinator Michelle Yesudas also tweeted against the decision, calling it “disappointing and predictable.”
“@tianchua found guilty for #sedition for making speech on 2013 election results. Disappointing and predictable.
“@AdamAdli @IshamRais @SafwanAnang @harismibrahim & @tianchua spoke against electoral fraud & corruption in 2013 & all guilty of sedition.”
LFL also tweeted on its account saying that no one was safe to protest the general election results.
“Message is clear – no one, not even an MP can call on the rakyat to protest the GE results. #mansuhaktahasutan”
Meanwhile, activist Pang Khee Teik voiced his disappointment that the court found Tian Chua guilty for asking people to stand up against racism and corruption.
“Urging people to ‘stand up and fight against racism and corruption’ is now seditious,” he tweeted.
Former ISA detainee Abdul Malek Hussin, who was also parliamentary affairs coordinator to Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, found it astonishing that Tian Chua was found guilty for using the word “bangkit” (rise).
“Rupanya menyeru rakyat ‘bangkit’ jadi kesalahan di bawah Akta Hasutan 1948. Inilah akibatnya apabila masih mewarisi undang-undang penjajah!”
(Apparently calling on the people “to rise” is an offence under the Sedition Act 1948. This is what happens when we continue to inherit colonial laws!)
Tian Chua was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act on May 29, 2013 for allegedly uttering seditious words.
He made the speech at the Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), shortly after the general election that year.