PETALING JAYA, Jan 26 ― Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli is guilty of insulting Umno members in 2014 with the intention of provoking a breach of public order, under Section 504 of the Penal Code, the Sessions Court ruled today.
In delivering the verdict, Judge Azwarnida Ariffin said the prosecution had proved the PKR secretary-general’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Rafizi however escaped disqualification as MP as the judge handed out a fine of RM 1,800. A fine of more than RM 2,000 would have caused Rafizi to face disqualification.
Rafizi was accused of committing the offence in an article published by The Edge Financial Daily in 2014 where he insinuated that Umno Selangor members were behind the incidents where molotov cocktails were thrown into compound of churches in Selangor.
Azwarnida said that Rafizi should be more “sensitive and mindful” of public statements he makes given that he is a lawmaker.
“The said interview article was supposed to be about Kajang move, but the remarks went beyond the scope of the Kajang move,” she said.
She also said that even though no real disorder was caused by the remarks, the “tendency and intention” is enough to prove Rafizi's guilt in the case.
In handing down the sentence, Azwarnida said that she took into account his status as a MP, and also the fact that this is his first offence.
“The court hopes he learns his lesson and is more sensitive in issuing public statements in the future,” she said.
Eric Paulsen acted as Rafizi's defence counsel while deputy public prosecutor Roslan Mat Nor prosecuted.
The case came about after several Umno Youth leaders in Selangor lodged a police report against Rafizi, claiming they had been upset by his remarks.
Rafizi is also facing a separate charge under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) 1989 for revealing Public Bank customer profile documents to unauthorised individuals.
Rafizi faces a jail of up to three years or a fine up to RM3 million if he is found guilty under Bafia charge, which is currently in trial.