'How can PM feel insulted when he's not in the WhatsApp group?'
Published:  Jul 3, 2016 10:00 AM
Updated: 10:15 AM

Lawyer Syahredzan Johan today questioned the police's move to arrest a 76-year-old author, who allegedly insult the prime minister via a WhatsApp group chat.

He said it is unlikely that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was insulted since he was not part of the WhatsApp group chat.

"There must be a nexus between the insult and the person who is the subject of the insult. How can that nexus exist if PM is not in the group?" he tweeted today.

"If I am in a WhatsApp group with (Twitter user) @pedoqpop and I send something insulting about him. Then yes, certainly he can report me under Section 233," he said by way of example.

"Our leader's heart must be made of tissue paper," Syahredzan said in a tweet.

The police are probing the author under Section 233 of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which carries a fine of not more than RM50,000 or a maximum one year's jail sentence or both upon conviction.

Section 233 deals with improper use of a a communications network to make obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive comments with intention to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Eric Paulsen slammed the authority for abusing the Act to protect the feelings of the leaders.

"Then calls himself a democrat. Go figure," he said without naming the leader.

Najib had described himself as a democrat following UK's Brexit referendum.

In a Twitter posting following the outcome, Najib said: "UK voters have spoken. As democrats, we must respect the result."

"We wish our British friends well in the new future they have chosen," tweeted Najib on June 24.

'Simply bangang'

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan did not mince his words when describing yesterday's arrest.

"A man arrested in Malaysia for sharing a photo disliked by authorities. No intellectual way to describe this. It is simply bangang (stupid)," he said on Twitter.

PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya likened the move with North Korea.

"76-year-old man arrested for insulting PM @NajibRazak on WhatsApp - whatsApp? Come on! Is this North Korea?" Latheefa, who heads the party's legal affairs bureau, asked.

Johor Police chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said the man was arrested at his home in Kampung Tunku, Selangor yesterday.

"The suspect was found to have uploaded the image under the name 'Pa Ya' in the WhatApp group 'Bicara Politik Melayu' (Discussion on Malay politics) aimed at insulting and offending Malaysians," he said in a statement.

He also cautioned internet users to be careful of what they post online and that police will not compromise on such matters.


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