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Fahmi Reza escapes jail term, fine reduced over Najib caricature
Published:  Nov 12, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: 12:29 PM

The High Court in Ipoh today set aside the prison sentence against graphic designer Mohd Fahmi Reza for uploading an offensive image of former premier Najib Abdul Razak on his social media account. 

According to Bernama, judicial commissioner Mohd Radzi Harun also reduced the initial RM30,000 fine imposed on Fahmi, to RM10,000, or in default, one month's jail. 

In making the ruling, Radzi said the court was satisfied that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing the facts as provided under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, without any reasonable doubt, and therefore, Fahmi's conviction by the Sessions Court back in February, will stay. 

However, the court also took into account statements by the government on proposed amendments to the CMA, including Section 233, to do away with elements that were draconian in nature, the judge added. 

"I hereby revoke the one-month jail sentence and fine of RM30,000 imposed by the Sessions Court and replace the fine with RM10,000, or in default, a month jail,” Radzi reportedly said. 

'Use talent to benefit society'

The judicial commissioner further urged Fahmi, who commands a huge following on his social media accounts, to produce works of art that positively impacts the society. 

"I personally would want to encourage you to continue with your work. I believe you have a good talent that can be used for noble purposes for the good of the people and country.

“Do not forget that the first person that should be criticised is ourselves, and in doing so, do not forget our manners as a Malay,” Radzi reportedly said.

He then urged the RM20,000 remaining from the initial fine imposed to be returned to Fahmi, so that the latter can use it to buy painting equipment to teach children, the disabled, and orphans. 

Fahmi was charged last June under Section 233(1)(a) of the CMA for posting the caricature, depicting Najib as a clown, along with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) logo.

He had previously filed a legal challenge against the constitutionality of the CMA in his bid to strike out the charge against him.

The prosecution today was conducted by MCMC's head of prosecution, Mohd Sophian Zakaria, while Fahmi was represented by lawyer Syahredzan Johan.