Karpal made remarks of a seditious nature, High Court told

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here was today told that DAP chairman Karpal Singh had made remarks with the tendency to be seditous at a press conference he called during the Perak political crisis earlier this year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Datuk Kamaludin Md Said said as a result, street demonstrations took place and comments appeared in blogs showing displeasure and disloyalty to Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak.

Kamaludin, who is leading the prosecution team, told the court that a total of 103 police reports were also lodged by people who were distressed by the remarks made by Karpal Singh.

"The accused (Karpal Singh) had called a press conference on Feb 6 at the office of his law firm. At 8pm that night, a recording of the press conference was broadcast through the electronic media while news reports on it were carried by local newspapers the next day," he said.

Kamaludin said this in his opening remarks on the first day of the sedition trial of Karpal Singh, who is alleged have made seditous remarks about the Sultan of Perak at a press conference held his Messrs Karpal Singh & Co office in Jalan Pudu Lama here between noon and 12.30pm on Feb 6.

After finishing with his opening, Kamaludin told the court the prosecution was ready to call its witnesses.

Utusan Malaysia reporter Nizam Mohd Yatim, who was present at the press conference held by Karpal Singh, then took the stand as the prosecution's first witness and told the court the press statement read out by Karpal Singh concerned constitutional issues.

Nizam said during the press conference, Karpal Singh read out his press statement first, after which a question and answer (Q & A) session followed.

Questioned by Jagdeep Singh Deo who is representing Karpal Singh, Nizam, 38, agreed with Jagdeep Singh that in the press statement Karpal never stated that he would be summoning the Sultan.

Nizam, who has been with Utusan Malaysia for eight years, said he was not sure if Karpal Singh had remarked that the Sultan could be sued during the press conference.

"If you are saying you are not sure, you did not know the contents of the press statement read out by Karpal Singh," Jagdeep Singh said in a raised voice.

Nizam: "I am not sure. My job then was only to process the press statement and cover the press conference including the Q & A."

At this juncture, Kamaludin stood up and told the court it was unnecessary for the defence counsel to raise his voice when cross-examining the witness.

"Give the witness time to answer the question. This might be the first time he is giving testimony in court. He is not a professional witness," advised Judicial Commissioner Azman Abdullah, who is hearing the case.

When asked by Jagdeep Singh whether he (Nizam) knew what charge Karpal Sing was facing, Nizam said he was unsure.

Earlier Nizam, when questioned during examination-in-chief by DPP Azlina Rasdi, another member of the prosecution team, said he went to cover the press conference on the instruction of his superiors and was there with several other media representatives.

Asked what he understood of the press statement issued by Karpal Singh, Nizam said Karpal Singh expressed dissatisfaction about the Perak Sultan interfering in political affairs in Perak and that he (Karpal Singh) intended to take legal action.

"I cannot remember the exact sentence, but that was what I understood from what Karpal Singh was saying," he said, adding that Karpal Singh's voice was very stern when reading out the statement.

Asked about the reports published in the Utusan Malaysia newspaper, Nizam said he wrote two stories on the press statement and another on the Q &A, but only the former were used whereas on the Q & A, the newspaper had used the story written by a Bernama reporter.

Karpal is being represented by counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, his children counsel Jagdeep, Gobind Singh Deo, Ram Karpal Singh and Sangeet Singh Deo, counsel S.N. Nair and Tommy Thomas while DPPs Kamaludin, Azlina, Noorin Badaruddin and Melissa Mohd Akhir make up the prosecution team.

The court was also filled with international observers, among them former Australian High Court Judge Jeffrey Allan Miles, who is representing Lawasia (Law Associations for Asia and Pacific Region), Tom Danos, representing the Victorian Bar Council, Australia and the International Commission of Jurists, Victoria, Shubhaa Srinivisan, representing the Law Society of England and Wales and John B.Lawrence, representing the Northern Territory Bar Association, Australia and the Criminal Lawyers Association of the Northern Territory of Australia.

The hearing resumes tomorrow. - BERNAMA

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