KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — Faced with the prospect of losing his Bukit Gelugor seat after being fined RM4,000 for sedition today, DAP’s Karpal Singh coolly said the “fight goes on”.

The veteran lawmaker added that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will have to “answer to the people”.

“The fight goes on. You knock out one Karpal Singh, a hundred Karpal Singhs will rise,” the 73-year-old told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex here after the judgment.

The Bukit Gelugor MP, who is also a lawyer, noted that disqualification as a lawmaker was a risk that came with the job.

“Our duty has risks and if a Member of Parliament is going to be afraid that he will be disqualified and therefore not speak up for the people, I think he does not deserve to be a representative of the people,” he said.

But Karpal also said that he would still be able to keep his federal seat until he exhausts his right to appeal.

“There’s a proviso that the Dewan Rakyat would allow the person concerned to fully exhaust his right of appeal, so it’s not automatic in the sense that I am disqualified,” he said.

Karpal also said that he may remain the chairman of the DAP political party under the Societies Act, until he finishes appealing his conviction.

His lawyer Gobind Singh Deo felt that the RM4,000 fine was “unduly harsh”, having earlier argued that Karpal was carrying out his duty as an MP and lawyer by offering a legal opinion and defending the state constitution in the Perak 2009 political crisis.

Gobind, who is also DAP’s legal bureau chairman, acknowledged that the court ruling may affect Karpal’s position in the party, saying: “The DAP will meet to discuss that.”

Gobind said the fine will be paid today, while Karpal confirmed he will appeal against the RM4,000 fine.

The Federal Constitution disqualifies any lawmaker who receives a fine of over RM2,000 or a jail sentence of more than one year from holding public office as an elected representative.

Today, High Court judge Datuk Paduka Azman Abdullah noted the need for deterrent sentences, but took into account two medical reports on Karpal’s health when deciding not to impose any jail and custodial sentence on the latter.

On February 21 this year, Karpal was found guilty of sedition over his remarks on the Perak Sultan’s role in the 2009 state constitutional crisis.

Following the fresh trial after the prosecution’s successful 2012 appeal of Karpal’s previous acquittal, the judge ruled last month that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt.

In 2010, Karpal had been acquitted by Azman without having to enter his defence over the sedition charge stemming from a press conference in February 2009 in which he said the Perak Ruler’s decision to remove Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin as mentri besar in favour of Datuk Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir was open to legal challenge.

In 2009, three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers defected to become pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) independents, which caused the state won by the informal pact in Election 2008 to fall back into the hands of the latter coalition.

Karpal’s conviction last month had led to criticism against Putrajaya for continuing to use the Sedition Act despite previously promising in July 2012 to repeal the now 66-year-old law.

Several federal opposition (PR) politicians and activists were also charged last year under the Sedition Act.