Crackhouse Comedy Club open mic participant Siti Nuramira Abdullah, who went viral for a performance deemed offensive to Islam, pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing disharmony and hatred at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today.
The 26-year-old was charged before Judge Siti Aminah Ghazali with “causing disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will, or prejudicing the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion”, a crime under Section 298A(1)(a) of the Penal Code.
Nuramira was brought to the court at 9am handcuffed. Clad in a dark suit and yellow shirt, she looked calm as she sat in the dock.
Deputy public prosecutor Najah Farhana asked no bail be offered to the accused as the offence is a non-bailable one.
“If the court want to give bail, we suggest the amount of RM50,000 as this case involved public interest,” she said.
However, counsel R Sivaraj who represented the accused requested a lower bail, stating that the bail was only meant to guarantee their clients’ attendance to court.
“My client who work as an executive officer in private sector earned about RM3,000 monthly.
“She also gave her full cooperation during investigations and is not a flight risk,” he said.
He also argued that the offence was not serious as grave acts were given imprisonment terms of more than 10 years whereas if she were convicted, Nuramira would face imprisonment of only two to five years.
Sivaraj said Nuramira’s neighbour was willing to become her bailor.
The court set RM20,000 bail with one surety and the accused needs to surrender her passport until the disposal of the case. She is also required to report to the Brickfields police station once a month.
The court fixed August 18 for mention.
Nuramira was also represented by Datuk Shaharudin Ali and Ramesh MP Chandran.
Siti Nuramira’s partner Alexander Navin Vijayachandran, who recorded her allegedly offensive stand-up comedy routine at Crackhouse Comedy Club in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, was charged under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for “improper use of network facilities or network service” at the Petaling Jaya court this morning.
Dressed in a black hoodie and blue denim shorts, the bespectacled Alexander appeared wide-eyed before the court as he pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to the two charges, the accused allegedly made and initiated the transmission of offensive communications with intent to annoy others via the Instagram app using the Twitter profile name ‘greenleafyconnoiseur’ and on YouTube, using the profile name ‘Alex & Amy @ insta Greenleafyconnoiseur’, last June 5 and June 16.
Alexander is alleged to have uploaded both contents at a condominium in Damansara Perdana.
On conviction, the freelance writer, 38, is liable to a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to one year or to both and shall also be liable to a further fine of one thousand ringgit for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.
Alexander was represented by lawyers R Sivaraj, who also represented Siti Nuramira, and Ramesh NP Chandran.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Firdaous Mohamed Idris had, at first, sought for bail to be set at RM40,000 for each charge.
However, Sivaraj pleaded for the judge to factor the accused’s economic status into the judgement.
“We ask the court to please consider his background as he is just a freelance writer earning less than RM1,500 a month,” argued Sivaraj.
He also noted that Alexander previously worked as a diving instructor, but the tourism industry suffered because of the economic turmoil brought upon by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“He does not have a fixed job and the pandemic devastated his earning capability.
“I ask the court that no bail be necessary as he is not a flight risk,” said the counsel.
Judge Azrul Darus then set the bail at RM10,000 for each charge. He also fixed September 1 for mentioned.
Earlier, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had issued an order to temporarily shut down the comedy club.
Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias said Crackhouse had been operating without an entertainment licence and only has a restaurant licence.