Don’t criminalise free expression, Amnesty tells Putrajaya

Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi waves to members of the press as he arrives at a police station in George Town on September 20, 2016, to have his statement recorded. ― Picture by KE Ooi
Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi waves to members of the press as he arrives at a police station in George Town on September 20, 2016, to have his statement recorded. ― Picture by KE Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 ― Putrajaya should be protecting Malaysians’ right to express themselves instead of punishing individuals for something as trivial as Twitter posts, said Amnesty International-Malaysia.

Amnesty Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni expressed concern that the recent arrests and police investigations over tweets indicated that freedom of expression was increasingly being stifled in Malaysia.

"Arresting individuals for expressing opinions, however disagreeable, must not happen.

"The latest arrests (and announcement of arrest in Jeff Ooi’s case) show that the space for free expression is shrinking, and shrinking fast,” she told Malay Mail Online.

She further alleged that the Communications and Multimedia Act was being used in the same manner as the Sedition Act.

Ooi today surrendered to the police who are investigating him over an allegedly offensive tweet on the late PAS spiritual advisor, Datuk Haron Din.

Former journalist Sidek Kamiso was also arrested at 4am today over another investigation on the same matter.

The police said today that three other people were also arrested over social media posts related to Haron.