KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The police said they have begun investigating a tweet questioning if Malaysians would also resort to burning the homes of their prime minister and other Cabinet ministers like the Sri Lankans did due to dissatisfaction with their government.
In a statement late last night, Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (CID) director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan said that the investigation was started as the content of the tweet can allegedly potentially disrupt harmony in the country.
"The screenshot image of the tweet was also found to have been spread via WhatsApp, since it was posted on May 19, 2022," he said, referring to the text messaging app.
"Investigation is being done by the Bukit Aman Classified Criminal Investigation Unit, Prosecution/Legal Division (D5), under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code for making a statement with the intention to incite anyone or race, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1988 for improper use of network facilities or network service.
"The police is advising the public to not make any speculations which can jeopardise investigations," he added, cautioning Malaysians to use the internet responsibly.
Though not naming the person being investigated, the statement alluded to a tweet by DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who had tweeted a statement on his official account, containing the paragraph: "Will the houses of the Prime Minister and Ministers of Malaysia be set on fire by angry protestors as happened in Sri Lanka last week?"
The tweet was later screenshot and shared by disgraced former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on his Facebook page, calling on the police to investigate the Iskandar Puteri MP.
Lim, in his statement after making the remark that has come under police radar, questioned if Malaysia is following in the footsteps of Sri Lanka, which at one time was a "jewel” in terms of development prospects in South Asia.
The island nation is currently embroiled in an economic and social crisis following the political power tussle among its leaders. There are food, medicine and fuel shortages as well as regular power supply disruptions, frustrating the Sri Lankans who began protesting and fighting. The nation now has a new Cabinet, but sans the all-powerful finance minister.
Sri Lanka's economic crisis started after the Covid-19 global pandemic which battered its tourism-reliant economy, rising oil prices and populist tax cuts by the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Mahinda, who resigned as prime minister last week.
Reuters reported that the new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is accused of being a stooge of the brothers.
Lim also questioned whether Malaysia can learn from the mistakes of the Philippines, which saw Ferdinand Marcos Jr elected as president despite his family's storied corruption in the past.