PKR lawmaker Sivarasa to be charged under Sedition Act over #KitaLawan rally speech

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker R. Sivarasa will be charged under the Sedition Act next Tuesday, Oct 20.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker R. Sivarasa will be charged under the Sedition Act next Tuesday, Oct 20.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

KUALA LUMPUR - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker R. Sivarasa will be charged under the Sedition Act next Tuesday (Oct 20) over his involvement in the #KitaLawan rally several months ago pressing for the release of former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Mr Sivarasa was called to the Dang Wangi police headquarters on Friday (Oct 16) for questioning over his involvement in the March 7 rally in Kuala Lumpur, reported The Malaysian Insider. He was accompanied by his lawyer, G. Sivamalar.

Speaking to reporters outside police headquarters, Mr Sivarasa said, "Their investigation was over my speech and they said it was seditious. After they questioned me, I was given a notice asking me to go to the Sessions Court in Jalan Duta on October 20, as I will be charged under Section 4 (1) (b) of the Sedition Act 1948."

Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act covers "uttering any seditious words" and under the charge, Mr Sivarasa faces a maximum fine of RM5,000 (S$1,663), or three years' jail, or both.

Earlier, Parti Amanah Negara Youth chief Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar was charged under the same law for his speech during a street protest in February leading up to the #KitaLawan protest, reported the news portal.

In his speech outside the KLCC shopping centre, Mr Sivarasa reportedly said the rally sent a clear message that people do not want a judiciary "controlled by the government" and that ruling party Umno was using the judiciary.

He told reporters on Friday (Oct 16) that the charge against him was an effort by the government to silence those who criticised the system and public institutions such as the police, Attorney-General's Chambers and the judiciary.

"But we will not keep quiet as this is our responsibility to voice out against the oppression. This is the political risk and sacrifice that needs to be made to bring about change in the country," said Mr Sivarasa, according to the website.

Last month, eight people, including opposition lawmakers and activists, were charged under the Peaceful Assembly Act for participating in a March 28 #KitaLawan rally. All eight were charged under Section 4(2)(c) of the Act, under which a person is deemed to have committed an offence if he or she organises or participates in a street protest.

PKR held a series of #KitaLawan rallies earlier this year to protest against the jailing of Anwar, the Goods and Services Tax and the Barisan Nasional leadership.