PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has criticised the arrest of two teenagers to assist in an investigation over a viral video showing a secondary school student criticising the History paper for this year’s Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
LFL director Zaid Malek said that he was appalled by the “heavy-handed” approach by the authorities and demanded home minister Saifuddin Nasution and communications and digital minister Fahmi Fadzil explain the use of Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) against schoolchildren.
“The boys were subjected to a police raid in their home. They were arrested and underwent a drug test. This would have caused extreme trauma to them and their family. And all this over a video where they vented their frustrations on their SPM History paper.
“Even if there were unsavoury comments that were uttered, it does not warrant intervention by the police. It should have been a matter for the school authorities and parents to deal with.
“They were just teenagers who were being childish and had already apologised for the video that they made, yet they were treated like hardened criminals,” he said in a statement today.
Zaid said CMA which is being used against the boys is a bane to freedom of speech, and contrary to promises of reform by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. It is also against the freedom of expression which is guaranteed under the constitution.
“We strongly condemn the overzealous and arbitrary actions of the police in dealing with the arrest of the teenagers, and urge that all police action cease and the matter be handed to school authorities.
“Criticisms on the governments should not be criminalised, and childish vents by teenagers even less so.”
Meanwhile, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii called for all investigations to be dropped.
“What is more important in this case is the well-being of the student. Such disproportionate action may cause unnecessary stigma, mental stress and fear, contrary to the spirit to educate and mould our young,” he said in a statement.
“That is why I call for all investigations on the matter to be dropped, and the students be given the necessary guidance and support, rather than being intimidated and treated like a criminal.”
Yesterday, Hulu Selangor district police chief Suffian Abdullah said police arrested the teenagers, both aged 18, after receiving reports from a teacher.
He added that the Hulu Selangor district police headquarters’ criminal investigation department (CID) arrested the students at their homes and also seized their phones.