Khairuddin's, Matthias' "economic sabotage" charge not Sosma offence: Federal Court

KHAIRAH N. KARIM

PUTRAJAYA: The charge of ‘economic sabotage’ levelled against former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang no longer falls under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the Federal Court has ruled.

Following the judges’ unanimous decision, the duo's charge under Section 124L of the Penal Code will proceed for trial at the sessions court here, on May 11 and 12.

Federal Court judge Tan Sri Hasan Lah, who chaired a five-man panel, made the decision after allowing a notice of motion by Khairuddin’s and Chang's lawyer, Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, to strike out the prosecution's appeal against a Court of Appeal's decision which held that the duo's charge is not a security offence – thus the procedures under Sosma do not apply to their case.

In his judgement, Hasan also said that the court agrees with Haniff that the prosecution failed to comply with the mandatory requirement, which is to serve the notice of appeal within 14 days.

The other judges who presided were Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin, Tan Sri Ramly Ali, Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim and Jeffrey Tan.

On Nov 18, 2015, the High Court ruled that the offence under Section 124L of the Penal Code could not be read together with Sosma.

Khairuddin, 54, and Chang, 66, were charged on Oct 12 of the same year with attempting to sabotage the state's banking and financial services.

They are alleged to have committed the offences in five countries; France, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong (China), and Singapore between June 28 and Aug 26, 2015.

They may be jailed for up to 15 years if found guilty.