Malaysiakini NEWS

Insulting the king: gardener gets two months' jail


A gardener was sentenced to two months' jail by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today for insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on his Facebook page.

Judge MM Edwin Paramjothy handed down the sentence on Sharil Mohd Sarif, 36, after he pleaded guilty to the charge.

Sharil, initially pleaded not guilty when he was first charged on March 22, but changed his plea to guilty on April 8 and his appeal was also heard on the same day.

The court had fixed today for sentencing.

The father of four children aged between five and 12 years, was ordered to serve the sentence from the date of arrest on March 15.

In sentencing, Edwin said attacks on the constitutional monarchy should be taken seriously, especially in this country where the people have deep respect for the monarchy.

“Such cases often raise the question of freedom of expression and the interests of the government in protecting public order and strengthening unity.

“Technological advancement means anyone who has a smartphone, can be a critic who can spread their opinions on social media very quickly, but this has led them to express their opinions without filtering and they can be very extreme and abusive.

“Although I agree with the deputy public prosecutor that a severe sentence will reflect on the seriousness of the offence and will serve as a warning to the offender, the focus of sentencing should also be rehabilitation," he said.

One year maximum jail

Sharil was accused of using the Facebook profile ‘Shahril Chain’ to initiate transmission of communication that was offensive in character with intent to annoy others.

The posting was read at the Cyber Crime and Multimedia Investigation Division, Commercial Crime Investigation Department, Bukit Aman Police headquarters, 27th floor, Menara KPJ, Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur at 11.30am on March 13.

He was charged under Section 233 (1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to a year, or both, upon conviction and a fine of RM1,000 for every day that the offence is repeated after conviction.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Asyraf Md Kamal while Sharil was represented by counsel M Dinesh.

- Bernama

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