Marina Yusoff fined RM5,000 for ‘seditious’ speech
Friday February 9
Leong Kar Yen
6:48pm, Fri: Former Keadilan vice-president Marina Yusoff was fined RM5,000 today by the Butterworth Sessions Court after she was found guilty of making a “seditious” speech shortly before the 1999 general elections.
According to Bernama, Marina was found guilty of accusing the ruling party Umno of having provoked the racial riots in May 1969 when speaking to a Chinese audience at the Chang Hua Kong Moral Uplifting Society Hall in Jalan Tanah Liat in September 1999.
Marina, who was a former magistrate in the same Butterworth court, was spared of a jail sentence. However, she was fined the maximum amount, in default of five months’ jail, after the judge found her offence “technical” in nature.
The former politician was charged under Section 14(1)(b) of the Sedition Act, which stipulates a maximum fine of RM 5,000, or three years’ of jail or both.
She was accused of saying: “I would like to remind the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, the cause of May 13 was Umno, it was Umno that began to kill the Chinese because Umno in Selangor had lost.
“The killing of the Chinese began with Umno at that time. It was arranged by the leaders of Umno and Selangor was led by Harun (Idris). So don’t think supporting that front was good because in the past Umno in Barisan killed Chinese people.”
Presiding judge Siti Mariah stated that there was seditious inclination which could give rise to hate and enmity between the Chinese and the Malays.
‘Offence not criminal’
Meanwhile, in appealing for a light sentence, the counsel for Marina, Christopher Leong, urged the court had to take into consideration her age, her good character and her service in the Attorney-General’s office.
Gopal Sree Nevasa, who also represented her, told the court that her offence was not criminal and was merely a “technical one”.
Deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Fairoz Zainal Abidin, said the Bernama report, contended that Marina committed a serious offence in terms of public interest and could have caused serious incidents.
Hishamuddin Hussein (from UMNO) alleged that Marina Yusof had said some seditious remarks which warranted for a police report by invoking the Seditious Act. It is a strange thing that no one from UMNO was penalised (using Seditious Act) when Hishamuddin waved the keris frantically with some remarks from delegates asking him ‘when the keris would be used?’ and ‘bathing in blood’. One ponders, is UMNO made to abide the Malaysian Law or Malaysian Law made to abide to UMNO? Below is Hishamuddin’s claim on Marina Yusoff’s words:
“Mahathir is trying to frighten the Chinese that if BN loses there will be a May 13. But I want to ask, why be scared? If the Barisan Alternatif comes to power we will arrest him (Mahathir) if he causes trouble. I want to tell the Malays, Chinese and Indians, the cause of May 13 was started by UMNO and Selangor led by Dato’ Harun. So, those Chinese who support the Barisan do not think this is good because in the past UMNO, which is in the Barisan, killed Chinese. The Chinese must note that we do not want to create trouble, we do not want turmoil in the country, we do not want our children killed. This is Mahathir’s final threat. He wants the Chinese to be frightened that there will be trouble, business will decline and their children’s safety will be in jeopardy. We give a guarantee that if all the Chinese support us we will look after their safety. We want the Chinese in the Chinese areas to look after the Malays, and the Indians in the Indian areas to look after the Malays. We do not want to segregate the Malays, Chinese and Indians. We want a Malaysian race.“
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