Satire video earns Malaysian opposition MP sedition charge
Malaysian opposition polictician Teresa Kok pictured in September 2008 in Petaling Jaya outside Kuala Lumpur - by Arjuna
The charge follows the March conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy in a case he has decried as politically motivated to ruin his career.
Teresa Kok, vice chair of the Democratic Action Party, told AFP the charge was over her video "Onederful Malaysia", which was released in January and depicts her as a talk show host with three eccentric guests.
Critics accused Kok of portraying Prime Minister Najib Razak's wife Rosmah Mansor as a big spender, but she is not named in the video.
Defence lawyer Sankara Nair said the MP faced up to three years in jail if found guilty of publishing seditious material.
"There is satire going on in the country everywhere so why haul up Teresa alone? It must be political motivation," he told AFP.
Repeated use of the Sedition Act and other repressive laws against opposition figures in the past year have resulted in condemnation from rights groups and claims of a government clampdown on dissent after its worst ever electoral result last May.
Anwar was sentenced to five years in jail on March 7 on charges he sodomised a former aide, but is free pending an appeal.
Kok's colleague Karpal Singh was also found guilty in February of sedition for insulting a state sultan -- respected figureheads in the Malay Muslim-majority country. He died in a car crash in April.
Kok had clarified that the video, released for Chinese New Year, was a satire of Malaysian political life, but more than 300 police reports were lodged against her, according to Malaysian media.
A coalition of Muslim groups in Kuala Lumpur also held a protest, slaughtered two chicken and offered a 1,200-ringgit ($370) reward in February to anyone who slapped Kok for insulting the Malay leadership and Islam.
Najib had pledged to abolish the Sedition Act in 2012 as part of reform promises aimed at halting a slide in support for his long-ruling coalition.
But after retaining power with a weak showing in 2013 polls, Najib is believed to be under pressure from disgruntled conservatives in his Muslim ruling party to backtrack on reform.
The government has said it "remains committed" to replacing the law, but has given no time frame.
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