Muslim preacher Zamihan under two-day remand for sedition probe

Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin was arrested yesterday following controversy over his Sunday video lecture. — Screen capture via YouTube
Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin was arrested yesterday following controversy over his Sunday video lecture. — Screen capture via YouTube

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 — Police were today allowed to detain controversial Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin two more days while they investigate him for sedition over remarks uttered in a video clip.

Fakhrul Azman Abu Hasan, one of two lawyers representing Zamihan today, confirmed the remand order had been issued by a magistrate around noon at the Dang Wangi police headquarters.

“They applied for remand for four days, then we argued and after that, the court gave two days remand starting from today,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted this afternoon.

This means Zamihan should be released on Saturday, if no further remand is sought or granted.

Fakhrul Azman said the investigation was under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act, adding that he had among other things highlighted to the magistrate regarding the less severe nature of the case.

“And he is a civil servant working with the Prisons Department, so there is no issue he will escape from the police, and I also argued the case is not such a serious case where punishment is mandatory imprisonment.

“And it’s very easy to investigate. To me, what they need from my client is a statement. The rest, they have a video, it’s viral, so after those arguments, the court gave only two days for the remand,” he said.

Under the existing version of the Sedition Act 1948, offences committed for the first time under Section 4(1) are punishable with a maximum RM5,000 fine or maximum three-year jail term or both. Subsequent offences would be punishable with a maximum five-year jail term.

This is less severe than the 2015 amendments to the Sedition Act which were passed by Parliament and subsequently granted royal assent on May 28, 2015. In these amendments which are not yet in force, the same Section 4(1) offences are punishable with a mandatory imprisonment of between three to seven years regardless of whether it is a first or subsequent offence.

Zamihan was arrested yesterday following controversy over his Sunday video lecture in which he complained about “a sultan” who criticised a Muslim-only laundry and made what was seen as racist remarks against the Chinese whom he suggested as unclean as they allegedly did not wash after urinating and defecating.

Zamihan in a statement yesterday said he had never mentioned the Sultan of Johor’s name in the video, insisting that it was impossible for him to have uttered words to insult the ruler but also went on to apologise to him over any offence caused.

Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar previously said in a published interview that Johor was not a “Taliban” state and that the laundry owner should “migrate to Afghanistan” if the latter was unhappy with a directive to end the allegedly discriminatory policy of serving Muslim customers only.

Besides the police investigation, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) last night said it had called Zamihan up to seek his explanation over the remarks and that his case has been referred to its disciplinary board for further action.

Jakim had confirmed that Zamihan was a “Jakim caderisation officer in the Home Ministry” that was currently based at the Kajang prison, also noting that his lecture uploaded on Youtube was alleged of containing criticisms against the Johor Sultan.

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