Twelve people were today charged for their role in the ‘cow-head’ protest at the Selangor state secretariat on Aug 28.
Of the 12, six were charged under the Sedition Act for allegedly causing racial tensions by displaying and stepping on a cow’s head during the protest.
These six also faced a second charge of illegal assembly with the remaining six.
The first six were charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act, or alternatively under Section 298 of the Penal Code.
They were Ibrahim Sabri, 42, Ahmad Mahayuddin Abd Manaf, 36, Eyzva Ezhar Ramly, 35, Mohd Azmir Mohd Zain, 35, Ahmad Suhairy Zakaria, 39 and Mohd Hilmi Ni, 40.
The first two were charged with stepping on the cow’s head, the third for bringing the animal’s head while the remaining three for both bringing and stepping the cow’s head.
They can be punished up to three years jail and/or a fine of up to RM5,000.
They were part of a larger group of people who took part in the protest against the Selangor government’s decision to relocate a 150-year-old temple from Section 19 to their neighbourhood.
The six defendants claimed trial before Sessions judge Hasbi Hassan.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar asked for bail to be set at RM15,000 each while their lawyers Salehuddin Saidin and Afifudin Ahmad Hafifi wanted it reduced to RM500 each.
Justice Haslin then set bail at RM4,000 each with a guarantor. She also fixed Oct 21 to mention the case for trial.
The second charge
Later, these six and six others were charged with illegal assembly under Section 27(5)(a) of the Police Act at the Shah Alam Magistrate’s Court.
All of the claimed trial before magistrate Norkamilah Aziz.
The six who faced sedition trial was granted bail at RM300 each while bail for six others was set at RM500 each.
The case will also be mentioned on Oct 21.
Meanwhile some 20 residents of Section 23 in Shah Alam were at the court to show support for the 12.
“We are not guilty (of taking part in the protest). We are all united on this matter,” a resident told reporters.
The protest, during which two people had carried a cow’s head and uttered provocative remarks – sparked outrage among Malaysians, who called for action be taken.
After the proceedings, the residents said the bail set for the defendants is too high. They said they will launch a donation drive to raise funds.
‘New site acceptable’
In a related development, a representative of the residents said they have accepted the new relocation site – also in Section 23 – for the temple.
The new site was identified by the state government on Monday after fierce protests by the residents.
The new site is believed to be further away from the houses.
The representative also hoped the temple committee will agree to the new site.
“If the matter is solved, then we hope the Indian brothers who lodged police reports against us will withdraw their reports and this case will be dropped,” added the representative.
[Full report to follow]