Malaysian High Court Gags Bersatu Member in Defamation Case Against King

A Malaysian High Court has issued a gag order against Badrul Hisham Shaharin, a Bersatu Information Committee member, prohibiting him from making public statements about his ongoing criminal defamation case against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the King of Malaysia, to ensure a fair trial without external influence. The ruling has significant implications for freedom of speech in Malaysia and may set a precedent for limiting public commentary on high-profile cases." This description focuses on the primary topic (gag order and defamation case), main entities (Badrul Hisham Shaharin and the King of Malaysia), context (Malaysia's High Court), significant actions (issuance of gag order), and implications (impact on freedom of speech). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as a courtroom setting, a judge, and possibly a representation of the Malaysian King.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Malaysian High Court Gags Bersatu Member in Defamation Case Against King

Malaysian High Court Gags Bersatu Member in Defamation Case Against King

On May 14, 2024, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur issued a gag order against Bersatu Information Committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, restraining him from making statements on his ongoing criminal defamation case against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the King of Malaysia.

Why this matters: This gag order has significant implications for freedom of speech in Malaysia, as it sets a precedent for limiting public commentary on high-profile cases. The ruling may also influence the outcome of similar cases involving defamation and sedition, potentially affecting the balance of power between the government and citizens.

Judge K. Muniandy allowed the prosecution's application to review the decision of a Sessions Court, which had denied the gag order. The judge ruled that any comments on the charge or the impending proceeding in the trial would be "sub-judice" and an affront to the administration of justice.

In his reasoning, Judge Muniandy emphasized that the "sanctity of the trial" has to be preserved at all costs. He stated that it is best if the trial judge hears the case in accordance with the rule of law and procedure, without being influenced by external statements or criticism.

The judge cited legal principles, including Section 325(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code and Section 500 read with Section 499 of the Penal Code, which pertain to the sanctity of the trial and preventing any imputation that will harm the reputation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

In a separate case, High Court judge Datuk Azhar Abdul Hamid dismissed the prosecution's similar application for a gag order for Badrul Hisham's sedition case. The judge agreed with Badrul Hisham's submissions that there was no strong reason to review the Sessions Court's decision.

Badrul Hisham, 45, claimed trial to two counts of making seditious remarks and defaming His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim King of Malaysia on April 29, 2024. The alleged offences took place on January 22 at the Istana Negara and on April 6 at Taman Bukit Cheras.

The charge under Section 500 of the Penal Code, related to the defamation case, provides for a maximum jail term of two years or a fine, or both, upon conviction. The gag order issued by the High Court aims to ensure a fair trial without undue influence from public statements by the accused in this high-profile case involving the Malaysian King.

Key Takeaways

  • Malaysian High Court issues gag order on Badrul Hisham Shaharin in defamation case against the King.
  • Gag order sets precedent for limiting public commentary on high-profile cases.
  • Judge cites "sanctity of the trial" and legal principles to justify the order.
  • Badrul Hisham faces up to 2 years in jail or fine for defamation and sedition charges.
  • Gag order aims to ensure fair trial without undue influence from public statements.