Malaysiakini News

No need to jail teenager over rude TMJ remarks, says Zaid

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Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has chided the one-year jail sentence handed to a teenager who was charged with making insulting comments with the intent to offend the Johor royalty.

Zaid pointed out that Muhammad Amirul Azwan Mohd Shakri was only 19 years old and may be a first-time offender.

"He (Amirul Azwan) does not deserve a jail sentence, let alone a maximum one. Someone needs to review (the sentence)," he said in a series of postings on Twitter.

The teenager was sentenced today at the Johor Baru Sessions Court after pleading guilty to 14 counts of making insulting comments against the Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim on Facebook between March and April this year.

He had been charged under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998, where upon conviction, one can be fined not more than RM50,000 or jailed not more than one year or both.

Zaid questioned whether the Communications and Multimedia Act was to protect the aristocracy and top leaders alone.

"I get insulted all the time and so are many others. What's the big deal?" he asked.

Everyone used social media now, including the Johor crown prince, and it was not uncommon for insults to be thrown around, said Zaid.

"Not everyone is sensible, but no need to jail stupid fellas," he said.

He also wondered why Amirul Azwan was unrepresented, and called for the Malaysian Bar Council to take up this case or for the "17,000 lawyers out there" to do something.

At least three people have been arrested in the last two weeks for allegedly posting rude remarks against the Johor crown prince, though Tunku Ismail had later asked the police not to arrest his critics.

"I would humbly share my opinion with the police not to arrest anyone making seditious remarks about me.

"Give them the privilege of saying what they want to say to my face, man to man," he had said.

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