JOHOR BARU, Feb 18 — A 33-year-old unemployed man was charged at the Magistrate’s Court here today after he was accused of stepping on the Quran and insulting Islam, in an incident that was shared ‘live’ on Facebook on February 13.
However, accused Mohd Zulkifli Ali was ordered to undergo a mental evaluation before proceeding with the case.
Earlier, Mohd Zulkifli nodded in apparent acknowledgement after the charges were read to him by an interpreter before Magistrate Nurasidah A. Rahman.
However, no plea was recorded from him.
This prompted Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurhayati Muhammad Fathullah to apply for the accused to be transferred to Permai Hospital in Tampoi here for a mental assessment.
The court allowed the application under Section 342 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) where the accused will undergo a mental examination to ascertain his mental state.
Mohd Zulkifli was charged with two offences at the same location and time at a hotel room in Taman Tebrau Jaya at 8.40am on February 13.
For the first charge, he is accused of defiling the Quran by stepping on it with the intention of insulting Islam.
The offence is punishable under Section 295 of the Penal Code which provides for a maximum jail term of two years, or a fine, or both.
That particular section deals with the destruction, damage or defiling of any place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons, with the intention of insulting the religion of any class of persons, or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion.
For the second charge, Mohd Zulkifli was charged with uttering insulting words heard by an individual with intent to defile his religious convictions and committing an offence under Section 298 of the Penal Code which provides for a term of imprisonment of up to a year or both.
The section deals with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, through words, sounds or gestures.
Nurasidah fixed March 17 as the date for the case’s re-mention and submission of the accused’s mental health evaluation.
Earlier, Mohd Zulkifli, clad in a white T-shirt and jeans, arrived at the Johor Baru Court Complex at about 9.30am.
On Saturday, the police confirmed that they had opened an investigation into a viral video which shows a man allegedly stepping on the Quran on Facebook.
The accused was subsequently arrested and remanded the following day for three days to assist investigations.
The police probe started after several people lodged reports following a viral Facebook video of the incident.