Prosecutors in Malaysia have charged an opposition leader with two counts of sedition for insulting the country’s revered sultans, according to media reports.
Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, a popular politician with the conservative Islamic party, PAS, appeared in court to face the charges on Tuesday.
He pleaded not guilty, according to Malaysia’s official Bernama news agency.
Sanusi’s remarks, made in a political speech earlier this month, questioned decisions taken by the Malaysian royalty regarding the formation of government at the federal and state level, according to other media reports.
Following his court appearance, Sanusi, who is also the chief minister of Kedah state, accused the government of stifling free speech.
“It seems that in Malaysia, we can’t say anything,” he was quoted as saying.
“In Malaysia, we have a fearful government that uses the police to arrest and suppress our freedom of speech, with all public agencies being used to impede the development and wellbeing of the people. I am confident that with these charges, many Malaysians [now] realise their [government’s] real intentions,” he said.
If found guilty, Sanusi faces up to three years in prison and a maximum penalty of 5,000 ringgit (about $1,100).
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze
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