Monday, 16 March 2015

Four Borneo activists charged with sedition

The activists are being charged for sowing hatred between the people of Sabah and the peninsula.

TUARAN: Four Borneo rights activists have been charged in the Sessions Court following their distribution of leaflets generated by the Sabah Sarawak Union (UK), headed by Doris Jones, 46, who also runs the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) Facebook Page.

The four who pleaded not guilty before Judge Dean Wayne Dally were named as Azrie Situ, 25; Jemmy Liku Markus Situ, 32; Erick Jack William, 29; and Joseph Kolis, 29.

Bail was set at RM 20,000 each of which RM10,000 had to be deposited in Court. They paid the bail.

The charge, under Section 4(2) of the Sedition Act 1948, carries a maximum fine of RM2,000, 18 months jail term or both.

Over 100 people turned up in Court in a show of support for the four activists.

Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim) chairman, Daniel John Jambun, expressed surprise that the charge sheet read; Tanah Melayu/Malaya di Kota Kinabalu. “Did they print tonnes of these sheets in the peninsula in 1957 and they are still being used?” he asked. “The bail sum set is manifestly high considering the fine is only RM2,000. Clearly, this serves as a warning for others.”

He said that the prosecution’s claim that the four accused are a flight risk does not hold water. “Why should they flee the country because of a RM2,000 fine for a charge which will not hold up in Court anyway?

Daniel said that he understood the lawyer for the four accused, Tengku Fuad Ahmad is in Perth, Australia but will be back this week. “Lawyer Arthur Chin stood in for Fuad.”

Daniel said that specifically the four are being charged for sowing hatred between the people of Sabah and the peninsula.

“There’s no element of incitement or inflammatory statements in their activities,” said former Sabah Chief Minister Yong Teck Lee who turned up in support along with former Berjaya Government Finance Minister Mohd Noor Mansor.

Fuad, in a Whatsapp message from Australia said: “I will be back this Thursday and will go through matters. My focus is on getting an acquittal for the Tuaran four.”

Jones told BBC News Radio Northampton on Friday that she doesn’t understand why Malaysia doesn’t want to allow Sabah and Sarawak to go from the list of states in the Federation, so that they can stand on their own two feet. “It’s a big question.”

BBC claimed that Jones was leading the campaign in the UK for independence back home on behalf of “some people in Sabah and Sarawak”. The station did not elaborate.

“If they don’t let us go, then we have the right to go independent,” said Jones. “We are countries which can be on our own like Singapore and Brunei. We are entitled to stand on our own two feet.”

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