Facebook user charged in Malaysia

Facebook user charged in Malaysia

Summary: Local student pleads not guilty in what is believed to be country's first indictment over use of Facebook to issue statement regarding recent church attacks.

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KUALA LUMPUR--In what is believed to be a first for Malaysia, a student has been arrested and charged for comments made on his Facebook profile over the recent spate of church attacks in the country.

Mohamad Tasyrif Tajudin, 25, who was charged in the Sessions Court in Petaling Jaya for using the Internet to broadcast a statement that could jeopardise public safety, pleaded not guilty to the charge today. The court date for case mention has been scheduled for Mar. 4.

National news agency Bernama reported today that Tasyrif was charged with using the social media site to issue a comment with the intention of "disturbing others". The offending words, which were posted in Malay, translate to read: "Should I throw the petrol bomb there now...price is negotiable." The offence was said to have been committed at a home in Petaling Jaya on Jan. 10.

He was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Act, which carries a fine of up to 50,000 ringgit (US$14,722) or a jail term of up to one year or both upon conviction. He was allowed bail of 6,000 ringgit (US$1,767).

Malaysia has seen a spate of firebomb attacks against churches following a Dec. 31, 2009 High Court ruling allowing Christians to use the term "Allah" to refer to "God". Allah, in Malay, is the word for god, but some in the country's Muslim community believe the word is exclusive to Islam.

The controversial ruling, which overturns a previous government ban of the use by non-Muslims, angered local Muslims. Ten churches, a mosque, a Sikh temple and a convent school, were among the buildings attacked.

The controversy has pushed locals to turn to the Web in a bid to rally support for the affected buildings. A blogger who started an Internet fundraising campaign for the Metro Tabernacle Church, which was attacked by arsonists, raised 8,467 ringgit (US$2,493) in four days.

Mohamed Rafick Khan Abdul Rahman, 45, started the donation drive on his blog after learning about the attack in Kuala Lumpur. He said donations poured in nationwide, and from the U.K. and Europe.

"People from all walks of life responded to this call to help the church, and 33 percent of them were Muslim Malays," he said in a report by English daily The Star. Rafick added that he wanted to send a strong message to Malaysians and the world that there were level-headed Muslims in the country who could differentiate between right and wrong. "There are many Muslims who believe in the value of religion. There are many Muslims who care."

The Malaysian government in 2008 had detained local blogger Raja Petra under the country's Internal Security Act and sedition charges.

Lee Min Keong is a freelance IT writer based in Malaysia.

Topics: IT Employment, Browser, CXO, Government Asia, Legal

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6 comments
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  • Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    I wonder how many web freedom of speech activist will come to this man's (Mohamad Tasyif Tajudin) defence?
    anonymous
  • RE: Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    I'm all for freedom of speech, but I draw the line when someone ties to incite others with such statements.
    anonymous
  • Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    Huhh... bagi sy kalau skadar sindir menyindir d wall FB sudah boleh d saman itu boleh d katakan sudah melampau !!! ... tidak salah rasanya menyampaikn mesej mggunakan FB skadar menyedarkan kesalahan seseorang individu tersebut. Org yg patut d saman atau d penjarakan ada HACKER's kerana org spt ini hanya mgganggu kenteraman dn melanggar hak privacy pengguna lain. masuk ke laman akaun org tanpa kebenaran dan mengcopy paste suma chat org dari wall 2 wall adalah tidak patut biar pun org tadi terasa diri dia yg d perbualkan.. selagi tiada perkataan yang boleh mgancam nyawa orang lain, adalah tidak wajar pgguna FB itu tadi di sumbat ke lobang penjara!! ..Apa apa pun, Saya benci Hacker's !!!!! .. can someone out there do something about it? penjara ke ?? sebat ke ?? huh...
    anonymous
  • RE: Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    What he said is common assault under OAP Act ... words which at best creates an 'apprehension' of danger for some people and at worse, an incitement to violence in an resonably peaceful nation ... sorry, but he shd be punished. Kudos to the authorities for taking decisive action. NOW, it would be interesting to see the follow-up actions. ...
    anonymous
  • Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    Orang Malaysia emang TAI semua. Bawa pulang tuh mayat Noordin M Top...
    anonymous
  • Facebook user charged in Malaysia

    hermm... he deserved it.. he shud not talk abt sensitive things like tat, well, he shud think twice before saying all those things, eventho internet is a freedom of speech site or wateva but there are still limits n not all people can take it. apalagi kalau ia melibatkan isu yang sepatutnya tidak harus dibesar2kan.. so in ur face tasyrif.
    anonymous