Malaysia

Youth arrested over Facebook posts on Johor Sultan

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

November 03, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — A 27-year-old quantity surveyor was arrested here last night and hauled to face the Johor police for allegedly writing seditious remarks against the Johor royal house.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Ahmad Abd Jalil was picked up by a group of plainclothes policemen at his office in Cheras at around 8pm yesterday before he was taken, along with his hard drive and office computer, to the Wangsa Maju police station for questioning.

According to Ahmad’s lawyer Mohd Zakwan Adenan, the youth was at first not informed of his offence, except that he was allegedly being investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948.

“He was questioned there until around 11.30pm before the police brought him to his house.

“They said they wanted to charge him under the Sedition Act for remarks he made on Facebook but when we asked the police which statement they were referring to, they could not answer.

“The police only said they’d received a number of reports on the issue from the Johor Baru district police... and that is why the cops from Johor had come along,” he said.

Section 4(1) stipulates that any person who utters, prints or publishes any seditious words, on conviction, would be liable for a first offence to a fine not exceeding RM5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to both.

At the house of Ahmad’s parents in Damansara Damai, the police conducted a thorough search and checked all computers and laptops before taking the youth with them to Johor.

Ahmad’s brother, who declined to be named, told The Malaysian Insider that there were at least 10 plainclothes policemen who arrived in four unmarked cars at the house for the raid.

He said not a single officer offered to show their identification cards or produced an arrest or search warrant.

“We couldn’t even be sure if they were palace bodyguards or policemen. Later, they took my brother with them to Johor and told us we did not need to follow them as we should let them do their jobs,” Ahmad’s brother said when contacted.

At 3pm today, Ahmad was taken before a Johor magistrate by police to obtain a three-day remand order.

According to Ahmad’s brother, the youth is currently held at the Johor Baru district police headquarters but is prohibited from seeing his family members.

“My parents and Ahmad’s wife are there now. But they’ve not been allowed in,” he said.

Ahmad’s brother expressed fear for his brother’s safety in the hands of the Johor police, whom he described as “very obedient to the palace”.

He admitted that his brother has always been known to be vocal and critical of both local and global politics, but said the matter should be handled fairly and delicately.

“He is well-versed with politics, that is true. And from what I know, he made a few comments on his Facebook that could have courted trouble. But I do not know what it is... I cannot access it.

“But what we fear is this. By law, the accused cannot be extracted from the police and sent to the palace but because the cops are so obedient to the palace, this rule could be broken.

“At the palace, our hands are tied and nobody would be in control of what happens to my brother,” Ahmad’s brother said.

In July this year, supernatural researcher Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas or “Uncleseekers” was also picked up by the Johor police over remarks against the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, which were alleged to be defamatory.

The Najib government has announced plans to repeal the controversial preventive law but despite this, the authorities have continued to invoke the law numerous times to clamp down on anti-government proponents.