There is no law that says flipping the middle-finger is wrong, but it depends on the nature of the police report in the case of activist Siti Kasim who has been summoned for questioning, lawyers said today.
Criminal lawyer Lim Chi Chau both said if the complainant’s “religious feelings” were hurt from the gesture by the lawyer cum activist, then it allows for investigation of a criminal offence under Section 298 of the Penal Code.
“If the complainant says by showing the middle-finger, it has insulted him or her and Islam, then Siti can be investigated for causing hurt to one’s feelings under the Penal Code,” Lim told Malay Mail Online.
Section 298 criminalises the “deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings” of a person through words, sounds, gestures or the placing of objects, punishable with one-year imprisonment, or a fine, or both.
Lim said it depended on the complaint filed, adding that showing the middle-finger and stripping down one’s pants in public can be looked at the same way.
“It all depends on how the police report is worded and whether the AG thinks there is a case in this matter,” he said, using the initials for the Attorney-General.
Khoo provided similar views on the matter but stated that it would be absurd to tie the middle-finger gesture to insulting Islam.
“If that is the case, than it is ridiculous, but at the present moment we are not entirely sure why she is exactly being called in.
“If showing the middle-finger and hurting one’s feelings is wrong, does that mean heckling is okay?” he asked.
Earlier this morning, Siti told Malay Mail Online that the police have called her for questioning at the Shah Alam district police headquarters tonight over her gesture to hecklers at September 5 forum on PAS’ Shariah Bill.
A lawyer, Siti added that she was not informed what law she is being investigated under.
A video of Siti flipping the bird to men who jeered her at the “Pindaan Akta 355: Antara Realiti Dan Persepsi” forum last month had gone viral. The forum was about PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s Bill that seeks to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 (Act 355) in order to expand the powers of the Shariah courts.
Siti has criticised the proposed legislation, saying that although proponents from PAS and Umno claim that it is not a hudud Bill, the suggested amendment will allow for punishments prescribed by the strict Islamic penal code.