KOTA KINABALU, Nov 11 — The High Court here dismissed an application from four volunteers of the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) movement to have their sedition case moved up to the High Court.
Justice Datuk Nurchaya Arshad said that the grounds for the application that the legal defence was too complex for the lower Sessions Court was speculative and not enough to grant the application.
“A complex legal defence is just speculative. It is just possession of the documents and seditious words that the prosecution needs to prove, thus the issue of complex defence does not arise.
“The Sessions Court judge is more than capable of handling the matter,” she said in her judgement today.
A date has yet to be set for the trial.
In affidavits filed in September, Jemmy Liku Markus Ratu, 32, Erick Jack William, 28, Azrie Situ, 24 and Joseph Kolis, 29, applied to move their case out of the Sessions Court on grounds that the higher court is better suited to deal with the complexity of their case as it involves international law, the Federal Constitution and its impact on domestic statutes.
Their lawyer Tengku Fuad Ahmad said that the trial also consists of elements relating to freedom of speech and political communication that are of public interest.
“We’re disappointed with the findings of the High Court today, but we will raise the argument strongly in Sessions Court. We are ready for trial,” he said when contacted by The Malay Mail Online.
The four were charged under Section 4 (2) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly being in possession of pamphlets allegedly propagating Sabah’s secession from the federation.
The four were accused of distributing the pamphlets at the Tuaran open market at around 10am on February 1 this year.
The pamphlets, which bore SSKM’s unofficial logo, claimed to promote the rights of North Borneo and said the movement hopes to collect 100,000 signatures for a petition to be sent to the United Nations to show that Sabahans are no longer interested in being a part of the Malaysian federation.
All four pleaded not guilty to the charge that carries a maximum fine of RM2,000, up to 18 months’ jail, or both upon conviction.