JANUARY 8 — The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) Malaysia is disturbed by reports that a PAS member from Sibu has been arrested for criticising four DAP representatives.
According to media reports, the unnamed 40-year-old was arrested on January 3, 2019 and remanded for further investigation after making comments on social media that, among others, said he wished for the MPs to “perish” for failing to organise back-to-school campaigns in their constituencies.
Reports have not stated which piece of legislation is being used.
This case illustrates the importance of having clearly defined guidelines on the limits of freedom of expression. Criticising elected officials should not be a prosecutable offence.
While expressing the wish for other people to die is in very poor taste, it does not appear that there was a call for violence.
CIJ is further concerned that a person under investigation for social media posts was subject to a urine test. While news reports indicate that the detainee tested positive for illicit substances as a result, it is unclear how a urine test can help in investigations for criticising Members of Parliament.
We call on the federal government to enact legislation that clarifies the limits to freedom of expression in Malaysia, in line with international human rights best practice, and to repeal all pieces of legislation that impinge upon freedom of expression, including the Sedition Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act and relevant sections of both the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.