7 DAP, PKR hopefuls to contest in GE14 despite criminal charges

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is one of several opposition candidates contesting despite criminal charges.

PETALING JAYA: At least seven DAP and PKR candidates are contesting state and parliamentary seats despite criminal charges hanging over their heads.

Either their trials have not started or their appeals against conviction and sentence are pending before a superior court.

According to federal and state constitutions, an elected representative’s membership will be terminated only if a jail term of at least a year or fine of at least RM2,000 is imposed, and one has not received a pardon.

Lawyer S N Nair said the disqualification would only come into effect after the final appeal was exhausted and application for clemency was refused.

“Then the respective legislatures will inform the Election Commission of a vacancy so that a by-election can be held,” he told FMT.

Leading the list is Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who has been charged with using his position to gain gratification by converting agricultural land to residential status. He also faces a related charge of purchasing a bungalow at below-market value.

He faces imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to five times the sum or value of the bribe, or RM10,000, whichever is higher, for the first charge.

For the second charge, the DAP secretary-general, who is contesting a state and a parliamentary seat in Penang, could be jailed up to two years or fined, or both, if found guilty.

The High Court has fixed May 21 for the hearing to recommence.

Jannie Lasimbang, the candidate nominated by DAP for the Kapayan state constituency in Sabah, will know tomorrow whether she can contest.

The High Court will rule on an appeal by the prosecution against Jannie’s acquittal from two charges under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA).

The charges, framed under Section 9 (5) of the PAA are punishable with a fine of up to RM10,000. Jannie was the organiser of the Sabah edition of Bersih 4 held from Aug 29 to 30, 2015.

Johor PKR committee member Steven Choong Shiau Yoon, who is contesting the Tebrau parliamentary seat, was convicted for taking part in the “Free Adam Adli” assembly near a petrol kiosk in Johor Bahru on May 21, 2013. The prosecution has filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal against the RM1,500 fine imposed by the High Court.

PKR vice-president and former Bukit Katil MP Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin meanwhile has been charged with gathering at a place of worship, also an offence under the PAA. Trial before a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur is ongoing.

Shamsul will be contesting the Hang Tuah Jaya parliamentary seat and the Machap Jaya state seat in Melaka.

Another PKR vice-president, Tian Chua, was found guilty by the Sessions Court in 2016 of making seditious remarks during a forum in 2013.

Tian Chua, who will defend his Batu parliamentary seat, was sentenced to three months’ jail and fined RM1,800. The government has filed an appeal to enhance the sentence.

PKR’s Sri Muda assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei was also charged with sedition in 2011 for allegedly insulting the Selangor ruler, but the trial has yet to begin as applications were made to strike out the charge.

Mat Suhaimi, who is political secretary to the Selangor menteri besar, is set to contest the Sungai Kandis seat.

Those convicted under the Sedition Act can be jailed up to three years or fined a maximum of RM5,000 or both.

PKR legal bureau head R Sivarasa has been charged with two counts of posting a doctored Time magazine cover on his Facebook account featuring Prime Minister Najib Razak, along with the words “No. 2 on the most corrupt list”.

The offence is punishable under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 with a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or a jail term of up to a year, or both.

Hearing before a Sessions Court has been fixed for June 26.

Sivarasa is slated to contest the Sungai Buloh seat, previously known as Subang.

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing, together with five others, was last year acquitted of obstructing civil servants from carrying out their duties during an illegal rally in 2015.

Tan of PKR has been nominated to defend the seat but it is unclear if the government has appealed.

The offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code carries a maximum of two years’ imprisonment or a RM10,000 fine or both upon conviction.

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