Out of police lock-up, Twitter user @bumilangit insists extremist views have no place in Malaysia, including social media

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — Twitter user Zulfadzli Halim, better known by his online handle @bumilangit, wants the authorities to crack down on hate mongers, especially those who use social media platforms to post racially and religiously divisive content.

The 39-year-old who exposed what he deemed to be racially and religiously divisive content on social media throughout the 15th general election was arrested last Thursday for sedition.

Released from police detention this morning, Zulfadzli maintained his innocence and said that social media posts that contain extremist views have no place in multicultural and multiracial Malaysia.

“Police should cooperate with the public to ensure the extremist post is handled by the authority and not quick to punish those who try to help them,” he told Malay Mail after leaving the Dang Wangi district police headquarters here.

Zulfadzli, who is also known as Jon to friends, was represented by lawyer Vince Tan and was welcomed by family and friends after spending two nights in police custody.

In a media statement this afternoon, the Bukit Aman police secretariat said Zulfadzli was a suspect and had been released on bail after its remand order expired.

It added that the Classified Criminal Investigations Unit, better known by its Malay initials USJT, will refer to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action once the police investigation papers are ready.

One of Zulfadzli's last posts on Twitter was an announcement that he was on the way to the Ampang Jaya district police headquarters, and was told that he had allegedly uploaded a post that was insulting to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong — although he was not informed of which post this was.

Zulfadzli, who writes for The Malaysian Insight news portal, added that he was not clear which video the police were referring to but said he was told it was because of the content defaming the Agong.

On November 21, he raised concerns about inflammatory content on social media platform TikTok.

He pointed to evidence that TikTok users warned the race riots of May 13, 1969 could happen again, and shared how some of the videos uploaded contained scenes of people wielding weapons like daggers.

He added that he had reported the videos to TikTok, but many were still not deleted, even after two hours.

On November 20, he shared another video of DAP leaders being accused of being anti-Malays, as evidence of how the Pakatan Harapan component party is maligned among the Malay community.

Yesterday, PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar said that the authorities should be careful when arresting or making allegations against the public. Malaysia United Democratic Alliance president Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman and Muar MP also called for solidarity with Zulfadzli.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh from DAP also tweeted used the #BebaskanBumilangit hashtag to show her solidarity. Other politicians who stood with Zulfadzli included PKR Youth chief Adam Adli Abdul Halim who asked the police to explain why a remand was necessary, and former Kangar MP Noor Amin Ahmad who “guaranteed” that Zulfadzli was a good person.

Last Thursday, police secretary Datuk Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin said that Zulfadzli was being investigated under the Sedition Act and Communications and Multimedia Act, and that he would be remanded until November 26.

In a later statement, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission issued a warning against reposting hate speech or offensive content that has been removed by social media platforms for going against their guidelines.