A Malaysian court has ruled that Indian origin lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh can be represented in a sedition trial by his family members as well as lawyers.
The high court on Friday said Karpal Singh could be defended by his sons Gobind Singh Deo, Ram Kripal Singh and daughter-in-law Sangeeta Kaur Deo even though the three were present at a press conference held when Karpal was alleged to have made some "seditious" observations.
The question of whether the three could act as Karpal's lawyers came up when judicial commissioner Azman Abdullah noticed in the video recording that they were present during Karpal's press conference at his office six months ago, The Star reported.
Karpal Singh is charged with uttering seditious words against the Sultan of Perak on Feb 6. The sultan is one of the constitutional heads of the Malaysian federation and monarchs are highly respected.
Karpal Singh is alleged to have said that the removal by the sultan of the then menteri besar (chief minister) Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin could be questioned in a court of law.
Jamaluddin belongs to Karpal Singh's Democratic Action Party that lost majority in the Perak state legislature because of defections.
Karpal Singh's statement was aired over the electronic media that evening, while several newspapers carried the article the next day.
A battery of cases were filed against Karpal Singh who also received threats on phone and an envelope with a bullet as a warning against saying anything against the monarch.
Karpal Singh, 69, a Sikh, has been a prominent opposition lawmaker and political leader of Malaysia that has an estimated 100,000 Sikhs and an ethnic Indian population of over two million.