GEORGE TOWN: Seri Delima assemblyman R. Sanisvara Nethaji Rayer was slapped with separate sedition and Penal Code charges at two different sessions courts here today.
The DAP state representative claimed trial to the charges.
He was first charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Umno members by uttering “Celaka Umno” at the state assembly sitting on May 20 this year.
The charge was read out by DPP Razali Che Ani, who heads the state prosecution unit, before Judge Zulhazmi Abdullah.
If convicted, Rayer faces a jail term not exceeding five years or a fine of RM5,000 or both.
Later, Rayer was charged before Judge Zanariah Hussain for allegedly committing a similar offence at a campaign rally at 10am on May 22 this year in the Island Glades area during the Bukit Gelugor by-election campaign.
The charge was also under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and the alternative charge is under Section 504 of the Penal Code.
If convicted under Section 504, Rayer faces a maximum two-year jail term or a fine or both.
Rayer, who is also a lawyer, was represented by Gobind Singh Deo and his brother Ramkarpal, and S.Raveentharan.
Both courts fixed RM3,000 bail each, which Rayer posted.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, state excos Jagdeep Singh Deo, Danny Law Heng Kiang and Abdul Malik Kassim, and several DAP elected representatives were at the court to lend support to Rayer.
Rayer was arrested and released on police bail on June 18 and was told to turn up at the Sessions Court on June 19 to face the sedition charge.
But the Attorney-General’s Chambers decided not to charge him until further notice.
No reason was given for the postponement then.
A total of 14 police reports were lodged across the country against Rayer after he allegedly uttered “Celaka Umno” at the rally on May 19 and at the state legislative assembly on May 20.
Among those who lodged the police reports were the Nibong Tebal, Bukit Mertajam, Tasek Gelugor, and Balik Pulau Umno dvisions, the Federation of Islamic NGOs Penang, the Balik Pulau and Nibong Tebal 4B Youth movements, Southwest Youth Council, Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS) southwest branch, and Pekida.
Rayer’s alleged controversial remarks triggered a hostile protest outside the Assembly House the next day where some demonstrators allegedly gate-crashed and stormed into the hall looking for Rayer.
On June 19, 15 individuals were charged at a magistrate’s court for trespassing the Legislative Assembly House on May 21.
All 15 claimed trial.
The 15 are Mohd Ridzwan Bakar, 54, Hisham Ahmad Sabri, 43, Afriz Mohd Noor, 36, Rosesarwandi Saad @ Yaacob, 33, Mohd Rizuad Mohd Azudin, 37, Hisham Abdul Hamid, 38, Mohd Nashrol Hisham Abdullah, 38, Azmeal Abu Bakar, 42, Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusof, 34, Mohamad Hilmie Ibrahim, 37, Jasmin Noordin, 40, Nordin Wahab, 41, Mohamed Ghani Abd Jiman, 48, Wan Abidin Zain, 51, and Mohamed Ibrahim A Siahoo, 31.
They were charged for trespassing with the intention of intimidating the House Secretary, M Maheswari.
The charge under Section 448 of the Penal Code was read together with Section 34.
The offence carries a maximum three-year jail term or RM5,000 fine or both.
Rayer would be the fourth elected representative from Pakatan Rakyat to be charged under the Sedition Act in the past few days.
The others are former Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin and Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, both from PAS, and PKR vice-president N Surendran.