KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Two Sabahans have filed a lawsuit against PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as a public interest matter, seeking to have the court declare the politician as unfit for any government posts over his alleged previous seditious remark against Christians.
The two men Maklin Masiau and Lawrence Jomiji Kinsil @ Maximilhian are asking the court to find Hadi guilty of violating Section 3 of the Sedition Act and a declaration that he is “unfit to hold any position in the government of Malaysia, including that of a position equivalent to a ministerial post”.
Hadi was appointed the prime minister’s special envoy to the Middle East on April 2. The position carries a status equivalent to a minister.
Last month, a government official explained Hadi’s role, which is said to involve helping and advising the prime minister on ways to enhance Malaysia’s interests in the Middle East in the fields of Islam, education, trade and investment, as well as meeting with ambassadors from countries in the Middle East to strengthen cooperation in such matters.
In their court filing, the two Sabahans claimed that Hadi had made a seditious statement in PAS newspaper Harakah against Christians and Christian missionaries on January 18, 2016.
They said they initiated the lawsuit because the public prosecutor had not charged Hadi for those remarks after four years.
“This is a public interest litigation brought to vindicate the rule of law by reason of the fact that no other person including the public prosecutor has any intention of bringing any proceedings against the defendant,” Maklin and Lawrence who described themselves as Christians said in their originating summons.
In an affidavit filed in support of their lawsuit, the duo said that Hadi had made an “unfounded statement” and cast aspersions on Christians and Christian missionaries, further saying that Hadi’s statement “has affected the Christian community in the country and thus has become a matter of public interest”.
They said Hadi’s alleged “seditious philosophy” was reflected recently in PAS’ Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh’s August 26 remarks in the Dewan Rakyat alleging the Bible to be “distorted”.
Nik Muhammad Zawawi had on November 3 in the Dewan Rakyat apologised if anyone had felt hurt over his remarks.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia — an umbrella body which represents churches nationwide — however questioned the sincerity of Nik Muhammad Zawawi in his so-called “apology” and described it as a “non-apology”.
The two Sabahans also included various news reports in January 2016 and August 2020 as part of their court filing to support their case.
Lawyer R. Kengadharan representing Maklin and Lawrence told Malay Mail that the lawsuit was filed on December 9 in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, and that the court papers had been delivered to the PAS headquarters yesterday.