3 opposition MPs in limbo over GE14 pending appeals

rafizi-tian-chua-khalid

PETALING JAYA: Three opposition MPs will be unable to stand for election in the coming general election (GE14) if the appeals against their convictions are not heard on time.

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad (Amanah), Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli (PKR) and Batu MP Tian Chua (PKR) are awaiting the dates of their appeals.

Unless their appeals are heard, they will not know if their sentences would be commuted for them to be eligible to stand for election.

Article 48 of the Federal Constitution disqualifies a person from being an MP for five years should the elected representative be convicted and sentenced to more than one year, or fined more than RM2,000.

The trio will not be able to stand in the GE14 unless the appeal courts set aside their conviction or reduce their fines to below RM2,000 and jail term to less than a year before the Dewan Rakyat is dissolved for a general election.

Rafizi’s lawyer, Chua Tsu Fae, said the trial judges had yet to provide the written grounds for his client’s case.

According to the directive on chief justices’ practices, lower court and High Court judges should provide written grounds within eight weeks after an appeal is made.

The court, on Sept 14 last year, found Rafizi guilty and sentenced him to 18 months’ jail for leaking a classified 1MDB audit report.

He filed his appeal within the stipulated 14-day period.

Rafizi, who is PKR vice-president, is currently on RM6,000 bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

On Jan 19, Khalid was fined RM2,900 by the shariah lower court for teaching Islam without the requisite credentials at a talk he gave at a surau in Kapar six years ago.

He filed his appeal immediately after the conviction but the Shariah High Court could not fix a date to hear the appeal unless there was a written judgment.

“No date set (for the appeal) yet. Even the written judgment is not yet available,” Khalid told FMT through a WhatsApp message.

Shariah lawyer Mohd Amir Shahril Bahari said the trial court judge should prepare the written grounds within a month once an appeal is filed.

On March 9, Tian Chua was fined RM3,000 by the Sessions Court after he was found guilty of insulting police officer DSP Glenn A Sinappah at a hotel in Petaling Jaya on April 14, 2014.

He was found guilty of using vulgar words on the police officer.

Tian Chua appealed against the conviction. In his case, the trial judge still has time to present the written judgment. – FMT

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