Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Tian Chua charged with refusal to leave holding camp

PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today in connection with his involvement in the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.
Tian Chua, as he is widely known, is accused of refusing to leave the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) when told to do so by DSP Rajakopal Arumugam about 2.30am on April 29.

NONEThe Batu MP is alleged to have violated Section 4(2) of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959.

Bersih protesters detained by police had been taken to Pulapol for their details to be recorded. Chua, who had been arrested about 5.30pm on April 28, was among them.

He claimed trial and was ordered to post bail of RM500. If found guilty, he is liable to a two-year jail term, a fine of RM1,000, or both.

He is the first political figure to be charged in relation to the pro-electoral reform rally held in Kuala Lumpur, among other cities in Malaysia and around the world.

DPP Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria applied to the court to set bail at RM5,000, but Chua’s lawyer Latheefa Koya argued that a personal bond should be sufficient because he has no reason to jump bail.

She pointed out that Chua is a member of parliament residing in Malaysia, and intends to contest the next general election. He is facing two other trials for which he has posted bail.

“The bail should be no more than RM500,or, better yet, release him on a personal bond,” said Latheefa, who also heads the PKR legal bureau.

The DPP said that, if no bail is posted, then Chua would have no incentive to appear in court, and countered that the penalty is not light in view of the possibility of a two-year jail term.

Judge Mahmud Abdullah, however, allowed the quantum of bail to be reduced and fixed the hearing dates from July 23-27.

Chua unmoved

Met by reporters when he arrived at the court, Chua was unmoved that he again faces the possibility of being disqualified as a MP.

“If the law is fair, if the judge is fair, I’m quite confident that I am not guilty of any of these charges,” he said.

NONE“These (laws) have been a weapon (that) they (the government) use all the time. It is not a question (of worry) that I’ll be charged and disqualified. As long as BN continues to rule, such laws will be used.”

Chua also believes that the latest charge will not affect his chances of being selected as an election candidate by the party leadership.

He said he is still eligible to contest so long as he is not convicted or the court case is not disposed of until after the general election.

Article 48(1)(e) of the federal constitution states that a MP is liable to be disqualified if he is sentenced to ‘imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than RM2,000'.

Chua had narrowly escaped disqualification last year, when the Kuala Lumpur High Court reduced his fine for biting a police officer during a protest in 2007. The amount was reduced from RM3,000 to RM2,000 on appeal.

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