(The Star) – In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal has ruled that Section 3(3) of the Sedition Act is unconstitutional.
A three-man panel chaired by Justice Lim Yee Lan said that intention must be proved in every sedition case.
Justice Varghese George Varughese read the judgement during proceedings Friday.
He said Section 3(3) was in violation of the constitutional right of freedom of speech.
Sri Muda assemblyman Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei filed an appeal challenging the constitutionality of the Sedition Act in relation to seditious tendency and its penalty.
When approached by reporters later, Mat Shuhaimi’s counsel N. Surendran said that the prosecution must prove the element of intent.
“Now we have to go back to the High Court to sort out the issue as it has serious impact on all citizens,” Surendran said.
In February, last year, High Court (Appellate and Special Powers) judge Justice Asmabi Mohamad dismissed Mat Shuhaimi’s civil action and ordered him to pay RM2,000 in costs to the Government, named as the sole defendant, in the case.
Justice Asmabi also dismissed an application to stay the proceedings at the High Court to refer a question of law to the Federal Court for determination with costs of RM4,000.
“I am mindful to dismiss this (stay) application with costs on grounds that it is an abuse of the process (of the court),” Justice Asmabi held.
In his originating summons filed in September last year, Mat Shuhaimi, 47, sought for a declaration that Section 3 of the Sedition Act, read with Section 4 of the same Act violates Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution and is therefore invalid.
Section 3 of the Sedition Act touches on various conditions of seditious tendency while Section 4 explains on the offences’ penalty.
Article 10 states that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression.
Mat Shuhaimi, who is also the Selangor Mentri Besar’s political secretary, had on Feb 7, 2011, claimed trial for posting a seditious publication in his blog.