‘Celaka Umno not celaka Melayu’, court rules as DAP rep acquitted of second sedition charge

DAP state lawmaker RSN Rayer has been acquitted of a second sedition charge over his ‘celaka Umno’ remark. — Picture by KE Ooi
DAP state lawmaker RSN Rayer has been acquitted of a second sedition charge over his ‘celaka Umno’ remark. — Picture by KE Ooi

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GEORGE TOWN, July 28 ― The Sessions Court here acquitted and discharged today DAP state lawmaker RSN Rayer of a second sedition charge over his “celaka Umno” (Damn Umno) remark.

Sessions court judge Ibrahim Osman said the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the Seri Delima state assemblyman.

“While the prosecution has proved that he has said those words in a speech, it has failed to prove the seditious element as Umno is not a racial group but a political group,” he said when reading his decision today at the end of the prosecution's case.

The court also finds that the phrase “celaka Umno” does not translate to “celaka Melayu”.

Rayer had been accused of uttering “celaka, celaka, celaka Umno” on May 20, 2014 during the state legislative assembly sitting.

He was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and would have been liable to be jailed up to five years or fined RM5,000 or both if found guilty.

Ibrahim today said he did not find the phrase “celaka, celaka ini, celaka Umno, biadap, kurang ajar” to contain any seditious tendency.

Rayer had made the remark at the appropriate forum, in the state assembly, Ibrahim added when pointing out that the lawmaker was also commenting on elements raised in the Penang governor’s speech.

He also said a political party cannot be defined as representing a race.

“The court could not accept Umno as a race because by referring to a political party as a race, it would give rise to negative implications as there will be many other speeches against political parties especially during election campaigns,” he said.

The judge then acquitted Rayer and ordered that he be released immediately from the charge.

This is the second sedition charge Rayer has been acquitted of and discharged in relation to the “celaka Umno” phrase.

In April, he was acquitted and freed of a charge under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and an alternative charge under Section 504 of the Penal Code.

He was charged with uttering a similar “celaka Umno” phrase during a Bukit Gelugor by-election ceramah at Jalan Delima on May 22, 2014.

Outside the courtroom, Rayer's lead counsel, Gobind Singh Deo, urged the Attorney-General not to appeal against the decision and asked that the appeal against the April decision also be dropped.

“The AG yesterday said he doesn't understand why people criticise him and question him so I call upon him to study this case as to why people question his role,” Gobind said.

He said the AG should not appeal against this decision as it might impact on the role of all elected representatives.

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