Jailed Batu MP Chua Tian Chang had expressed concerns about getting a lengthier jail sentence if he had pressed on with his appeal, said Pakatan Harapan chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Mahathir claimed Chua had, prior to going to jail, given him a call to express such concerns, and this showed a lack of confidence in Malaysia’s judicial system.
“He said, ‘I could appeal, but if I appeal it (the jail sentence) may be increased to five months. So it would be better to go to jail for one month’.
“(Chua holds this view) because we now lack confidence in our legal system, our country’s judicial system, to the extent that we are too afraid to appeal.
“If we appeal, our sentences may increase – (in the end we could get) not one month, but five.
“This is the situation now. We must restore the country to one that obeys the rule of law,” said the former premier at a solidarity rally held outside Chua’s office in Jalan Sentul, Kuala Lumpur last night.
About 200 people attended the event.
Chua, better known as Tian Chua, was sentenced to one-month imprisonment starting Friday last week. He is serving his sentence at Kajang Prison.
He was convicted by the Sessions Court under the Protected Areas and Places Act 1959 in January 2014 for refusing an order to leave the Pulapol complex along Jalan Semarak on April 29, 2012, after he was arrested and brought there from the Bersih 3 rally a day earlier.
When his appeal came up to the Court of Appeal last week however, he abruptly withdrew his case and discharged his lawyers.
“My lords, in my opinion, it is an absurdity to penalise me for my being in the compound of Pulapol, in a situation which I was brought in by force and against my will.
“My participation in Bersih had been part of a very long journey of the struggle for a fairer and better Malaysia.
“If the price for changing this repressive and corrupt system is to go to prison, I shall say I am more than ready to accept,” Chua said from the dock at the time.
‘Bad laws’ to go
Meanwhile, Mahathir dismissed the charges against Chua as baseless, and urged those at the vigil to vote Pakatan Harapan into power so that it can set up a government that respects the rule of law.
He told the audience to attend the upcoming anti-kleptocracy rally on Oct 14 as a stepping stone towards that goal.
He also pledged to abolish “bad laws” such as the National Security Council Act 2017, which grants emergency-like powers to the prime minister.