Questions now center on whether they would eventually be forced to slap similar charges on Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and MCA’s Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon for allegedly committing a similar crime.
If so, this would mean the duo would also face the possibility of losing their state seats should the courts find them guilty.
The Malaysian Insider understands that it is likely that they too had failed to obtain approval from the Film Censorship Board prior to their DVD production of the tumultuous May 7 assembly sitting.
According to past reports, Dr Mah, who is also a state executive councillor, announced in May last year that the BN government would distribute a whopping 50,000 copies of the DVD to the public.
The purpose of the production was to counter the Pakatan Rakyat’s claims that they had been mistreated during the controversial May 7 sitting, during which DAP’s Tronoh assemblyman V. Sivakumar was famously forced out of the Speaker’s chair.
When contacted today an evasive Dr Mah refused to answer questions on the matter.
He only offered that the BN government was aware of the need to obtain approval from the board prior to the distribution of any production.
“We know. We were advised about it,” he claimed.
However when asked to confirm if he had obtained any certification to legalise his production, Dr Mah kept mum.
“I have no comment. I do not have to comment on all of your questions. I can choose not to answer,” he said, sounding upset.
Dr Mah’s defensive response has triggered Perak’s PR representatives into action.
Nga Kor Ming, who was formerly a state executive councillor when PR helmed Perak, told The Malaysian Insider that the state PR Youth would soon lodge a police report against both Zambry and Dr Mah for their production.
“We will lodge a report against them for printing and distributing 50,000 copies of the state assembly DVDs to the public. It was announced by them on May 29,” he said.
When contacted, Perak police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that no investigation had been done so far against Zambry or Dr Mah over the DVDs.
“Whatever reports we received during that time, we launched investigations. So if there were none, then we would not have investigated them,” he said.
DCP Zulkifli gave his assurance, however, that the police would launch an investigation if the PR lodged a report on the matter.
“We are very fair. If there is a report, we will investigate. We will go through it and if there are elements of criminality, for sure we will conduct an investigation,” he promised.
DAP’s Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Ong Boon Piow presently faces the possibility of being charged with the possession of 23 copies of unapproved film material, entitled “BN’s Power Grab in Perak”, under Section 6(1)(a) of the Film Censorship Act 2002.
He had produced the DVD shortly after the May 3 ‘tree assembly’ sitting and had aired a preview of it during a ceramah on March 29 last year.
Shortly after the ceramah, Ong was detained by the police and questioned over his allegedly illegal production of the DVD.
According to Ong, this was because he had failed to obtain the “B” certificate from the Film Censorship Board, which was mandatory under the law.
If convicted, Ong faces automatic disqualification from his seat and the state would have to hold its first by-election for a state seat since Election 2008.
This is because the charge stipulates that Ong faces a fine of not less than RM5,000 and not more than RM30,000 or a jail term of not more than three years, or both, upon conviction.
Article 48 of the Federal Constitution states that an elected representative is disqualified from his seat if he is convicted of an offence and sentenced to an imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than RM2,000.
The charges against Ong were temporarily deferred today.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Mark Netto said outside court that the matter had been deferred due to instructions from the state prosecution chief. It is believed that the prosecution is now awaiting orders from the Attorney-General’s Chambers. No reason for the deferment was given.
PR lawmakers have mocked the prosecution for its sudden about-turn, claiming that it was because they were aware that by charging Ong, they would have to charge both Zambry and Dr Mah as well for the same crime.
Nga pointed out that the Federal Constitution stipulates that all men were equal before the law.
“That means everyone has to be accorded equal treatment. No one is above the law,” he said.