Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today claimed trial at the Sessions Court over a speech posted on his blog calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
He was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communication and Multimedia Act which carries a fine of up to RM50,000, or jail sentence of up to a year, or both upon conviction.
The 64-year-old former de facto law minister was alleged to have committed the offence at the Federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman on September 3.
In his blog posting titled “Rally behind Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad”, he was said to have hurt the feelings of others in calling for Najib’s resignation.
The former law minister had previously expressed surprise that his speech, which he made at the Royal Selangor Club in September, was considered to be seditious.
Session Court judge Datuk Jagjit Singh released Zaid without bail pending his next court date.
The case has been fixed for mention on January 22.
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shahruddin Wan Ladin suggested that the court offered bail of RM10,000 in one surety.
Lawyer M. Puravelan, appearing for Zahid, submitted that bail requirement was not a requisite since this was only a summons case.
“This is like a traffic offence. The prosecution could only apply for bail if my client is absent during trial,” he said.
Puravelan, who was assisted by Amarjit Singh Sidhu, said Zaid was law minister in 2008.
He said Zaid was also responsible for setting up of the Judicial Appointments Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
“He is now retired and involved in a foundation for the poor and disabled in Kelantan,” he said.
Puravelan said Zaid was of good character and not a flight risk.
The lawyer said he would also raise a preliminary objection on the charge framed against Zaid.
He said the charge sheet stated that Zaid had annoyed the public at large in calling for Najib’s resignation but the appended blog posting pointed that it was only aimed at the prime minister.
He said it was unclear which words in the blog posting amounted to an annoyance.
Jagjit then ruled Zaid did not need post bail as the prosecution failed to produce evidence he was a flight risk and that he would hear the preliminary objection on January 22.
By V. Anbalagan, The Malaysian Insider