Jannie Lasimbang’s candidacy hangs on court judgment

Former Suhakam commissioner Jannie Lasimbang awaits ruling on Thursday with some trepidation.

KOTA KINABALU: DAP’s candidate for the Kapayan state constituency Jannie Lasimbang is putting on a brave face ahead of a court date on Thursday, when judgment will be passed on her case under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012.

“I am staying positive,” she told FMT but admitted she was nervous, especially as the ruling is coming so close to the 14th general election’s nomination day this Saturday.

The court is expected to rule on an appeal by the prosecution against Jannie’s acquittal from two principal charges under the PAA.

The charges, framed under Section 9 (5) of the PAA 2012, are punishable by a fine of up to RM10,000 upon conviction.

Jannie was the organiser of the Sabah edition of Bersih 4 held on Aug 29-30, 2015.

She was first charged under the Act in October 2015 for failing to provide 10 days’ notice for each of the two days the public gathering was held.

The two-day rally was held along Kota Kinabalu’s Likas Bay Esplanade and was attended by some 3,000 on the first day.

Jannie, who is also a former member of the Malaysia Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), is worried that if the court overturns the acquittal and fines her RM2,000 or more, she would automatically be disqualified from standing as a candidate in the election.

“The timing is certainly not by chance. I see it as part and parcel of the overall evil design by the Barisan Nasional to suppress the opposition and to bar as many credible opposition leaders from standing as candidates in GE14.

“This is foul play. I strongly condemn it,” she said.

Jannie hoped the magistrate will make a fair decision but, whatever the outcome, she would abide by it.

According to a source inside DAP, in the event Jannie is disqualified from being its candidate for Kapayan, her brother, Adrian Lasimbang, would take her place instead.

Adrian had earlier hoped to stand in the Sook state seat within the Pensiangan federal constituency.

Like Jannie, Adrian had been active in various NGOs focusing on the needs of the indigenous in the interior of Sabah before venturing into politics.

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Court acquits Sabah Bersih chief over Bersih 4 rally