Update

Malaysia: Zunar's Trial challenges Sedition Act as unconstitional

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ARTICLE 19

06 Nov 2015

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Today, 6 November, Zunar’s case was called up for case management. 

An application has been filed at the Sessions Court to have constitutional questions to be referred to the High Court.  The trial Sessions Court does not have jurisdiction to hear such matters.

The central questions are as follows:

  1. Whether section 3(3) of the Sedition Act 1948 is unconstitutional, as it states that the “intention” of the maker "shall be deemed to be irrelevant" when making the seditious statement;
  2. Whether the Sedition Act unlawfully criminalises peaceful free expression, thus being unconstitutional;
  3. That the recent Federal Court case in PP v Azmi Sharommisread the Constitution, and should be reconsidered. Under Article 10(2), “Parliament may by law impose” restrictions on fundamental rights. Therefore as the Sedition Act pre-dates the Constitution, it cannot be read into Article 10 (2) to restrict freedom of speech.

The application is now fixed for submissions and hearing on 8 December and decision of the application on 15 December. In the meanwhile, no trial dates (of the actual sedition case itself) have been fixed pending Zunar's application.