OCTOBER 30 — Can a Facebook posting about the political situation of another country be subject to a sedition probe in this country?
This is the question which arises in the curious case of Ronnie Liu, the Sg Pelek State Assemblyman who was arrested briefly in connection with a probe that is currently being conducted in relation to a Facebook posting of his about the unrest in Bangkok recently.
According to reports, Ronnie’s said posting bore the caption, “Now in Bangkok. They are saying no to the king."
It is a fact that there has been social unrest in Bangkok in recent times.
But how does his posting come within the purview of the Sedition Act, 1948 which only applies to offensive remarks of various local institutions?
It is elementary that the law of sedition in this country relates, amongst others, only to certain criticisms of our domestic institutions, not of foreign ones.
As such, it is crystal clear that one cannot commit sedition in this country by commenting about the political situation of another country, like Thailand.
Which begs the question: How could Ronnie’s post possibly be seditious?
This is a question that the Inspector General of Police must answer.
Furthermore, according to Ronnie, his said posting was made nearly two weeks ago and as such, cannot be said to have anything to do with the proposal for a state of emergency by the government last Friday as no one, including Ronnie, knew that such a proposal was going to be made at the time of his said posting.
The reality of the position is that Ronnie merely commented on the political state of affairs in Bangkok in his said posting. It is absurd to suggest that by doing so, he was insinuating anything about our domestic political situation.
To put things in perspective, if there was an uprising against the Queen of England in London tomorrow, would it be seditious to share news of it on social media here in Malaysia?
Sedition is undoubtedly serious but Ronnie is certainly not guilty of it in this case.
*Ramkarpal Singh is MP of Bukit Gelugor and Chairman of DAP National Legal Bureau
**This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.