Cops slammed after arresting schoolboys for ridiculing SPM history paper in viral clip
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Human rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today slammed the arrest of two schoolboys for “ridiculing the SPM history paper”.
Director Zaid Malek criticised the continued existence of Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) to restrict free speech in a statement this morning.
“Even if there were unsavoury comments that were uttered, it does not warrant intervention of the police force,” he said, adding that the teenagers had already apologised for the video.
He criticised Pakatan Harapan (PH) — which is part of the coalition government — for allowing CMA to continue to exist after its calls for reform, especially since the Act had been used against its own members.
“The fact that PH now indiscriminately wields the weapon that they once opposed vehemently, smacks of George Orwell’s Animal Farm,” he said, referring to the political satire.
He also called on Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil to explain the “unprecedented” use of S233 of CMA against the students.
Besides that, Zaid condemned the police for being overzealous in arresting the students, urging for police action to be ceased and for the matter to be handed over to the school authorities instead.
Director Zaid Malek criticised the continued existence of Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) to restrict free speech in a statement this morning. — File picture by Shafwan Zaidon
“Criticisms on the governments should not be criminalised, and childish vents by teenagers even less so. Are we to subject every teenager to arrest and prosecution for simply ranting online? Is this what we have come to?” he asked.
He pointed to Article 10(1)(a) of the Federal Constitution, which states that every citizen has the right to freedom of speech and expression, saying that people should feel protected from unwarranted and disproportionate criminal action when it comes to them exercising their right to free speech.
Yesterday, two 18-year-olds were reported arrested for a video they had made which went viral in which they reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the History paper in the SPM examination and insulted Singapore.
Hulu Selangor district police chief Suffian Abdullah said in a statement that a 53-year-old teacher had lodged a police report on Friday at 10.53am. Following that, Hulu Selangor’s Criminal Investigation Department raided a house in Batang Kali and arrested the two boys.
The case is being investigated under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1995 and Section 233 of the CMA.
Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1995 says that any insulting behaviour, which includes the use of insulting words, intended or likely to breach the peace is liable to a fine of not more than RM100.
S233 of the CMA criminalises the use of network facilities or network services by a person to transmit communication deemed offensive.
Those found guilty of this offence can be punished with a maximum fine of RM50,000, or a jail term of up to one year, or both.