Ten years' jail for insulting religion is excessive

Lim Kit Siang

Modified 10 Mar 2019, 8:09 am

MP SPEAKS | All Malaysians must uphold the Federal Constitution and respect all religions in Malaysia, but there must be no excessive punishments like the 10-year jail sentence by the Kuching Sessions Court for a social media holder for insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

As advised by de facto Deputy Law Minister Hanipa Maidin, the social media holder should appeal against the decision of the Kuching Sessions Court.

The advent of social media has brought Malaysians to a new age, where what they say online is no longer private, but can be immediately broadcast in an explosive rate to the public.

Malaysians must be conscious of the uses and abuses of social media, where its effects are magnified in an explosive manner.

Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Orang Asli, must develop a sceptical and cynical attitude to the messages they receive on social media to ask the important question, “Is this true?”, and to check its veracity before sharing it with others.

If Malaysians develop such a healthy attitude of scepticism and cynicism to check on the veracity of each and every message, they will not fall victim to the vicious and toxic politics of lies, hate, fear, race and religion prevailing in the country.

I am talking from experience as a victim of fake news on social media. 

Recently, old social media lies have been resurrected to demonise me as anti-Malay, anti-Islam, a communist, in fact, a relative of Chin Peng.

They claim I am responsible for the May 13, 1969 riots, leading the street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur shouting anti-Malay and anti-Islam slogans – although I was never in Kuala Lumpur after the May 10, 1969 general election.

Before the 14th general election, such toxic politics alleged that I would be the prime minister of Malaysia if Pakatan Harapan wins the polls.

When such lies and falsehoods were proved wrong after May 9 last year, new lies and falsehoods were manufactured to allege that I am the real power in the Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya, and that Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Mohamad Sabu were merely my stooges and puppets.

If Malaysians can develop a healthy scepticism of what they receive on the social media and check their veracity before they share it with others, it will be a big step to check the abuses of social media in the country.

LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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