Malaysian preacher sentenced to jail under Sedition Act gets stay of execution

Preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin saw his nine-month sentenced handed down by a Sessions Court in April 2014 for "insulting the Sultan of Selangor" extended to a year after the High Court rejected his appeal.
Preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin saw his nine-month sentenced handed down by a Sessions Court in April 2014 for "insulting the Sultan of Selangor" extended to a year after the High Court rejected his appeal.PHOTO: BERNAMA

SHAH ALAM - Malaysia's High Court on Friday (July 12) granted a stay of execution to preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin, a member of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), who this week lost an appeal against his jail sentence imposed under the controversial Sedition Act.

Wan Ji, 37, on Tuesday (July 9) saw his nine-month sentenced handed down by a Sessions Court in April 2014 for "insulting the Sultan of Selangor" extended to a year after the High Court rejected his appeal.

The preacher, who had spent two days at the Kajang Prison in Selangor, filed an appeal against the High Court decision on Tuesday and applied for a stay of execution on the same day, the Bernama news agency reported.

Judge Abdul Halim Aman granted the stay after hearing the appeal from Wan Ji's counsels Mohd Radzlan Jalaludin and Ariff Azami Hussein.

Wan Ji is the first person to be jailed under the Sedition Act which PKR, the largest party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, has been trying to abolish, citing violation of human rights.

Critics have claimed the colonial-era Sedition Act is abused to stifle political dissent. PH had in its election manifesto last year promised to do away with the colonial-era law, and this planned repeal has been repeatedly affirmed, including by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday.

"We are in the midst of structuring the new law and it will be concluded as soon as possible," he told reporters in Parliament.