KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here today sentenced activist Hishamuddin Md Rais to nine months in jail for making a seditious speech at a public forum on May 13, 2013.
Judicial commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan made the ruling after allowing the prosecution’s appeal for Hishamuddin’s punishment to be enhanced from the RM5,000 fine imposed by the Sessions Court on Jan 9 last year.
However, the judge granted counsel Syahredzan Johan’s application for a stay of execution of the activist’s custodial sentence and set RM6,000 as bail, pending the defence’s appeal at the Court of Appeal.
In his decision, Nordin said the RM5,000 fine was inadequate and would not serve as a deterrent to others with intention to commit a similar offence.
Earlier, the judge rejected Hishamuddin’s appeal to set aside his conviction by the Sessions Court after concurring with the latter that the accused, from the context of his speech had incited for a change of government.
Nordin said it was the right of the accused to speak out but which should not be a justification to break the law.
“Therefore, the court opines that the decision of the Sessions Court may not be disturbed and the appeal against conviction is rejected,” affirmed the judge.
The prosecution was represented by deputy public prosecutor A.S Thangavelu.
Hishamuddin was charged with committing the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Jalan Maharaja Lela, Dang Wangi here between 8.55 pm and 11.15 pm on May 13, 2013. – BERNAMA