Monday, 16 March 2015

4 charged with sedition over Sabah, Sarawak secession, report says

Four men were charged with sedition in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, today, for allegedly possessing materials urging Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia, The Star Online reported.

The materials are said to be linked to the Facebook page Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia, which advocates the two Bornean states leave the federation of Malaysia, according to the news portal.

The four are Azrie Situ, 25, Jemmy Liku Markus Situ, 32, Erick Jack William, 29, and Joseph Kolis, 29, who pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court before judge Dean Wayne Dally.

The men were released on RM20,000 bail in one surety each, and also had to surrender their passports.

The portal said the four were among nine people arrested on February 1 for possessing seditious material. They had reportedly distributed pamphlets on Sabah's rights and a petition to support these rights.

The Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia Facebook page is run by a Sabah activist, Doris Jones, who is now based in London. The page currently has more than 32,000 “likes”.

Sabah police have issued a warrant for her arrest, but Jones had told local media that she had not heard from any authority or Interpol about the warrant.

On March 13, police said they had made contact with her.

Secession calls will soon be defined as seditious under the Sedition Act after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said last year that the law would be retained and strengthened.

The act in its present form gives wide ambit to the authorities to decide what is seditious.

The four were represented by counsel Arthur Chin.

A crowd of about 100 people reportedly turned up at the courthouse today in a show of support.

Among them was former chief minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, who is now with the opposition.

Talk of secession among Sabah nationalists has increased of late against as awareness grows among people about poverty, immigration and political issues, such as "Project IC", a move to change the demographics and electoral roll of the state by issuing identity cards to migrants. – March 16, 2015.



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