We are free to express ourselves now, says Tamrin

SARAH ZULKIFLI

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Batu Berendam member of parliament Mohd Tamrin Abdul Ghafar was discharged and acquitted of a sedition charge by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today. The 70-year old smiled upon hearing he had been freed by Judge Azwarnida Affendi after five years of being on trial for the offence. Earlier, Deputy public prosecutor Zaki Ashraf Zubir informed the court that the prosecution wanted to withdraw the charge against Tamrin. He said the prosecution had agreed to drop the charge against Tamrin after a discussion with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas. Tamrin, who is a PAS member, was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act for a speech he delivered on May 13, 2013, at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur. The offence, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948, carries a RM5,000 fine, or two years jail or both. Tamrin later told reporters that he was relieved and happy that the case against him had been dropped. He said the case should not have been pursued in the first place, as what he said at the hall was "only an opinion". "However, under the old regime led by (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak, we did not have freedom to express ourselves. "Alhamdulillah, under the Pakatan Harapan government led by (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad today, it gives us the freedom. This is what the rakyat have been asking for all this while," he said. His lawyer Eric Paulsen said prior to the prosecution team's decision to drop their charge, the defense team had written a letter to the AG's office requesting for the case to be withdrawn. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd