Suaram to hold gathering for Wan Ji at Kajang prison

Wan Ji Wan Hussin.

PETALING JAYA: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) will gather tonight in solidarity with a PKR-linked religious preacher after the High Court upheld his conviction for making seditious remarks against the Selangor ruler.

The rights NGO will convene outside the Kajang prison at 8pm.

Earlier today, Wan Ji Wan Hussin’s conviction was not only upheld, but he also had his sentence increased to a year from the original nine-month jail term.

In expressing its disappointment with the court’s ruling, Suaram also hit out at the governing coalition for failing to fulfil its promise of abolishing the Sedition Act 1948 and other draconian laws.

Its executive director, Sevan Doraisamy, also said the Pakatan Harapan administration could not hide behind the veil of separation of powers as the administration was the one that has failed to institute the necessary policy reform.

“Their failure to abolish these laws and to take remedial action has resulted in the conviction of Fahmi Reza under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and now, Wan Ji under the Sedition Act 1948,” he said in a statement.

Fahmi, a graphic artist, was found guilty of uploading an offensive caricature of former prime minister Najib Razak. Last week, the Court of Appeal struck off Fahmi’s appeal for lacking merit.

Wan Ji was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948. He was sentenced in April last year to nine months’ jail for the remarks made on his Facebook account in 2012.

Sevan went on to urge Putrajaya to expedite the abolishment of the Sedition Act 1948 and implement a moratorium on the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 pending their respective repeals and amendments.

They also called on the Parliament Standing Committee on Rights and Gender Equality to summon the head of prosecution within the Attorney-General’s Chambers to offer a public explanation for the continued prosecution under the Sedition Act 1948 despite commitments made by the Pakatan Harapan administration.

The Sedition Act, he said, is an archaic legislation that restricts freedom of expression, contrary to the rights provided for under the Federal Constitution.

“In recent years, the Sedition Act 1948 gained notoriety after it was abused by the government to silence dissent and punish activists and political opponents of the administration.”

Last year, the government withdrew the moratorium on several acts it was reviewing, including the Sedition Act, following a riot sparked by the relocation of a temple in Subang Jaya.