Rafizi sen­tenced to 18 months’ jail

> Pan­dan MP found guilty of two charges un­der OSA

The Sun (Malaysia) - - NEWS WITHOUT BORDERS - BY HAIKAL JALIL AND AMAR SHAH MOHSEN

KUALA LUMPUR: Pan­dan mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Mohd Rafizi Ramli was sen­tenced to 18 months in prison by the ses­sions court here on two charges un­der the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act (OSA).

The PKR vice-pres­i­dent re­ceived 18 months’ jail on the first charge of unau­tho­rised posses­sion of page 98 of the 1MDB Au­dit Re­port.

He was found guilty of com­mit­ting the of­fence at the Par­lia­ment build­ing lobby in Jalan Par­li­men here at 3pm on March 24, un­der Sec­tion 8(1)(c)(iii) of the OSA 1972, which car­ries a max­i­mum jail term of seven years on con­vic­tion.

Mohd Rafizi, 39, who is also PKR sec­re­tary-gen­eral, re­ceived 18 months’ jail on the sec­ond charge of ex­pos­ing the con­tents of the re­port at a me­dia con­fer­ence at the same place and time on March 28.

The charge, un­der Sec­tion 8(1)(c)(iv) of the same Act, car­ries a jail term of up to seven years on con­vic­tion.

Judge Zulqar­nain Has­san or­dered the sen­tences to run con­cur­rently and granted a stay pend­ing Rafizi’s ap­peal to the High Court, and raised the bail from RM3,000 to RM5,000.

Mean­while, Se­lan­gor Men­tri Be­sar Datuk Seri Mo­hamed Azmin Ali said the court’s de­ci­sion would fur­ther strenghten the Opposition.

He, how­ever, said the rul­ing is not fi­nal and hoped Rafizi would be cleared of the charges on ap­peal.

“The sen­tenc­ing will not weaken our spir­its to keep fight­ing. We are con­fi­dent that our fight for jus­tice and fair­ness will pre­vail,” said Azmin, adding that the sen­tenc­ing would only fur­ther strengthen the unity within the party to con­tinue its strug­gles.

Asked whether the court’s de­ci­sion was fair, Azmin said Rafizi and his team of lawyers had pre­sented their case well.

“The court has made a de­ci­sion to­day but that de­ci­sion is not fi­nal,” he added.

Mean­while, Elec­tion Com­mis­sion chair­man Datuk Seri Mohd Hashim Ab­dul­lah said Rafizi will re­main as Pan­dan MP pend­ing his court ap­peal process.

Fol­low­ing Rafizi’s de­ci­sion to ap­peal the de­ci­sion, he said it would be pre­ma­ture to com­ment on the need for a by-elec­tion for the Pan­dan seat. “We would like to in­form that un­der the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion, he (Rafizi) re­mains as Pan­dan MP. Based on Ar­ti­cle 48(4)(b), he is en­ti­tled to ap­peal the court’s de­ci­sion.

“There­fore, his seat will not be va­cant, and his po­si­tion re­mains un­til his ap­peal is com­pleted.

“Any le­gal process con­cern­ing the Pan­dan seat will only be de­ter­mined af­ter the ap­peal process is fi­nalised,” he said in a state­ment.

Speak­ing to reporters later, Rafizi’s lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo said he (Rafizi) can­not con­test in the 14th gen­eral elec­tion (GE14) should Par­lia­ment be dis­solved in the near fu­ture while his ap­peal is still pend­ing.

Un­der Ar­ti­cle 48(1)(e) of the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion, a per­son can­not stand as a can­di­date if he re­ceived a jail term of a year or more, or a fine of RM2,000, or both.

Rafizi (left) at the court yes­ter­day.

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