KUALA LUMPUR, March 8 — Three men were charged today in the Sessions Court with 11 counts of insulting Prophet Muhammad and Islam on social media.

Unemployed Mohamad Yazid Kong Abdullah, 52, pleaded guilty, while hawker, Chow Mun Fai, 43, and convenience store employee, Danny Antoni, 28, pleaded not guilty respectively, to all the charges read separately before Judge Hasbullah Adam.

Hasbullah fixed March 11 for Mohamad Yazid’s hearing of the facts of the case and sentencing.

Mohamad Yazid was charged with using the Facebook account of “Yazid Kong” to post insulting communication with intention to hurt others at 8.21pm on February 24, 2019.

The posting was read by another Facebook user with a profile name “Mohamad Syafiq” at the Salahuddin Al-Ayubi mosque, Jalan Taman Melati, Wangsa Maju, here at noon on March 1.

The charge, under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, punishable under Section 233(3) of the same act, provides for a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for everyday during which the offence is continued after conviction, if found guilty.

Chow was charged with using Twitter application, under Twitter handle @Alvin15358333”, to post a tweet with intent to incite or which is likely to incite the Malays to commit any offence against the non-Malays.

The charge, under Section 505 (c) of the Penal Code, carries a maximum jail sentence of two years or a fine or both, if convicted.

Chow was also charged with seven other counts of posting similar tweets which could threaten the unity and harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims between 2.29pm and 7.06pm on March 2, 2019.

All the tweets were read at the Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation Division, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman Police headquarters, Menara KPJ here at 8.30pm on March 3.

Danny, on the other hand, was charged with two counts of using the profile page of ‘Danny A'antonio Jr’ and posting insulting statement against Prophet Muhammad, Islam and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on Facebook at 1.21am on January 9.

The posting was then read at the Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation Division, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman Police headquarters, Menara KPJ here at 10am on March 4.

The charge, under Section 298A (1) (a) of the Penal Code, provides for a maximum jail term of five years, upon conviction.

The prosecution, conducted by Communications and Multimedia Commission Prosecution Department director Mohd Sophian Zakaria and Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Asyraf Md Kamal, did not offer bail.

Muhamad Asyraf said the prosecution was committed to solving the case within a short period of time as it involved public interest and the fact that almost 1,000 police reports were lodged relating to the case nationwide.

“This situation will incite anger and, if not addressed well, can threaten the security of the country," he said.

Muhamad Asyraf said all accused should be separated temporarily from the community and internet access because it was likely for them to repeat the same offence if bail was allowed.

He also informed that Chow had been charged two times in Kuala Lumpur and Muar, Johor involving similar offence but he was discharged not amounting to an acquittal for not appearing in court and several warrants of arrest had been issued against him.

The court did not allow bail and set April 5 for mention of the case.

Mohamad Yazid and Chow were represented by lawyer Muhammad Syafiq Salleh while Danny was unrepresented. — Bernama