Court frees Zaid Ibrahim of offensive blog posting charge

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 ― DAP member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was today acquitted by the Cyber Court over an allegedly offensive blog post he made in 2015.

Justice Zaman Mohd Noor who made the ruling, said the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

“The prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the case as there is a need to call the victim, [to ask] whether he is annoyed and how he felt.

“Therefore the accused is released,” he said.

Three years ago, Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence, which in this case would be the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He was accused of using the Internet and consciously issuing offensive remarks through a blog post on September 2, 2015 with the intention to hurt the feelings of others.

The blog entry in question was a transcript of Zaid’s speech delivered at the Royal Selangor Club luncheon in which he alleged, among others, that Najib was obstructing investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd and urged Malaysians to support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's campaign to remove the prime minister.

Zaid who was present for the decision today said it was a simple case but the proceeding has taken a long and tedious process.

“I am happy today and I hope we can try to move on,” he said.

Zaid insisted his blog post was never offensive and merely attempting to lift the spirit of change.

“It's refreshing to have a judge who see things clearly and doesn't worry about making such a decision,” he said. 

His lawyer Americk Sidhu late told reporters that most of the witnesses called by the prosecution stated they were not annoyed by the speech given in the blog posting and were contradictory.

“If we are looking at something that annoys somebody, we have to look at its intent and objectively,”  Americk said.

Zaid’s legal team included M. Puravalen and Amarjit Sidhu. 

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the prosecution would appeal to the decision made by the court.

Those found guilty would face a fine of up to RM50,000 or a maximum one-year jail term or both, as well as a further fine of RM5,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction under Section 233(3) of the CMA.

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