Radio personality Patrick Teoh detained for 3 days

Radio personality and actor Patrick Teoh is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

JOHOR BAHRU: Radio personality and actor Patrick Teoh has been remanded for three days from today to facilitate investigation into his alleged insulting remarks against the Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, and the Johor royal institution.

The remand order was issued by magistrate Saba’aton Daud.

Johor police chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay told Bernama Teoh, 73, was detained by a police team from the state commercial CID at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters yesterday.

Police also seized a laptop belonging to Teoh, he said.

“On Friday, Johor police received a report from the public alleging that a Facebook user by the name ‘Patrick Teoh’ had insulted Tunku Ismail,” he said in a statement here.

The case is being investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which provides for a fine of up to RM50,000 or imprisonment of up to one year or both, on conviction.

Meanwhile, Khan advised the public not to misuse application services to upload false statements with the intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.

Release him now, urges Suaram

Meanwhile, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy, in a statement, expressed concern over the detention.

“Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 was not designed to criminalise online commentary, neither is it a criminal offence for anyone to post uncouth or offensive remarks online so long as it does not threaten the safety and wellbeing of another person.

“The arrest and remand of any individual under Section 233 of CMA for allegedly insulting the royal institution is an abuse of the law as any investigation for such offence can be done remotely without the need for prolonged remand.”

Sevan said Johor police were notorious for abusing Section 233 of the CMA in recent years with mass arrests made for comments made on football, and a trend of requesting extensive remand period for a “crime” that does not require the detention of the alleged perpetrator.

He said limited police resources were being wasted on arresting and detaining individuals for online commentaries that do not threaten the safety and wellbeing of others.

“In Zaid Ibrahim’s case under Section 233 of CMA, where he allegedly insulted (former prime minister) Najib Razak, the Sessions Court ruled that the prosecution must call on the victim and have the victim testify that he was affected by the accused’s statement.

“In this context, perhaps the Johor police should verify the supposed victim of this case was genuinely affected by an offhand remark by a random individual online before expending limited police resources to arrest and detain a person for alleged offensive comments online during a pandemic.”

Seven asked for Teoh’s immediate release and for the government to immediately review and restrict the flawed application of Section 233 of CMA by the police.

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