Chegubard claims trial to sedition, defaming Agong

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Bersatu information committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as Chegubard, has been charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today.

He faces two counts of defaming the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and inciting discontent against His Majesty.

However, the 45-year-old pleaded not guilty to both charges that were read before judge Siti Aminah Ghazali.

According to the charge sheet, Chegubard is accused of posting seditious material on Facebook on April 6, which is an offence under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 and is punishable under Section 4(1) of the same act.

He faces a fine of up to RM5,000, imprisonment for up to three years, or both. Repeat offenders can be jailed for up to five years.

He also allegedly made defamatory statements reasonably believed to harm the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s reputation on Jan 22, which is an offence under Section 500 of the Penal Code and punishable with up to two years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Deputy public prosecutor Syed Faisal Syed Amir proposed a bail of RM20,000 for each charge and a gag order until the conclusion of the case.

This is because the charge is not for an ordinary offence. The restrictions would ensure the trial can proceed without disruption, help maintain public order, and prevent other offences from being committed, Syed Faisal argued.

Defence counsel Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali urged for the quantum of the bail to be reduced and that no gag order be imposed.

He pleaded that the bail sought is too high, considering that the accused is married with four children. Three of them are still schooling, and the youngest holds a disability card.

“The (gag) order being sought is also not specific while the case is of public interest.

“I humbly submit that the order is unconstitutional, and Malaysians have the freedom to hold open discussion without the boundaries of the law,” he said.

The judge then set bail at RM10,000 for each charge and rejected the prosecution’s application for a gag order. The case has been set for mention on May 27.

Earlier, Chegubard had arrived handcuffed at that Kuala Lumpur Court Complex wearing a green baju Melayu and was brought inside at 9.20am under heavy police escort.

“Assalamualaikum, selamat Hari Raya,” he said to media practitioners taking photos and videos of him.

The outspoken political activist will face another sedition charge for his post regarding alleged talks on the opening of a casino in Forest City.

He is expected to face the charge at the Johor Baru Sessions Court tomorrow morning.