A 69-year-old businessman has been remanded for three days from Tuesday for allegedly insulting Islam in connection with the death of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Dr Haron Din. The 69-year-old suspect was said to have made the comments on Facebook under the name Ong TK.
Two other suspects arrested for similar reasons were released after the police’s request to remand them was denied. The two suspects, a 62-year-old and 50-year-old strategic communications consultant, were arrested in Bandar Utama and Shah Alam over their tweets.
All of them were investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
Former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik was fined RM 1,900 by the Sessions Court in Shah Alam over a Facebook posting alleging that Selangor prince Raja Muda Tengku Amir Shah was an apostate.
He pleaded guilty to the charge under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 over an offence which was committed on Sept 25 last year.
Jelutong Member of Parliament Jeff Ooi is being investigated under the same Act over his tweet on the passing of the PAS spiritual leader. Former journalist Sidek Kamiso was arrested following accusations of him insulting Islam.
On Sept 15, a teenaged labourer was sent to the Henry Gurney reform school for posting Facebook insults against the Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
Many social network platforms are flushed with inappropriate postings. They include politically incorrect statements, racist rants, libellous claims, profanities and suggestive or lewd photographs.
We are seeing no-holds-barred debates on current issues. While intellectual exchanges are welcomed, many comments serve no purpose but to insult a different view. The attacks are mainly on race and religion.
The authorities are vetting Internet content more diligently. We must remember that although the Internet is not censored by the government, it does not operate in a legal vacuum.
You are responsible for what you post on the Internet. Many have opposed the Act, saying it should be repealed as it negates the exercise of the right to speech and expression.
But long as the Act is in place, the onus is on Internet users to be observant of it so as not to run afoul of the law. There is need for better self-control in your comments. The choice is yours.
Section 233: Improper use of network facilities or network service, etc.
(1) A person who—
(a) by means of any network facilities or network service or applications service knowingly—
(i) makes, creates or solicits; and
(ii) initiates the transmission of,
any comment, request, suggestion or other communication which is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person; or
(b) initiates a communication using any applications service, whether continuously, repeatedly or otherwise, during which communication may or may not ensue, with or without disclosing his identity and with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person at any number or electronic address, commits an offence.
(2) A person who knowingly—
(a) by means of a network service or applications service provides any obscene communication for commercial purposes to any person; or
(b) permits a network service or applications service under the person’s control to be used for an activity described in paragraph (a), commits an offence.
(3) A person who commits an offence under this section shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.