PETALING JAYA: A Cambodian businesswoman and her son pleaded not guilty in the Melaka sessions court today to separate charges of making inflammatory statements and improper use of network facilities.
The charges stemmed from a viral video in which the woman allegedly described Malays as “lazy”.
In the video, the woman is also alleged to have said that Cambodians are more intelligent and hardworking than Malays.
She later said she was joking and apologised for her comments.
Berita Harian reported that Mariyah Yaakob, 47, was charged in the Ayer Keroh sessions court under Section 505(c) of the Penal Code with making a statement with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, a community.
The offence carries a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both, upon conviction.
The charge said that the video, uploaded to TikTok at about 6pm on Nov 16, was intended to incite Malays.
Her son, Ezuan Hafsham Mohd Hisyam, 22, pleaded not guilty to the charge of knowingly using TikTok to create and spread a video showing his mother making the impugned statements.
Ezuan was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and may be punished under Section 233(3), which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of one year or both, upon conviction.
He is also liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction.
Earlier, state prosecutor Ahmad Sazali Omar and deputy public prosecutor Nazrin Ali Rahim urged the court to impose bail of RM30,000 each for Mariyah and Ezuan, with two Malaysian sureties.
He also requested that the court order them to surrender their passports pending the disposal of the trial.
Sazali also urged the court to prohibit the accused, or any other party, from making statements relating to the case that could interfere with the proceedings.
The duo’s lawyer, Kamal Hisham Jaafar, requested that bail be set at a lower sum. He said his clients needed their passports as Mariyah, a businesswoman, often travels overseas for work, while Ezuan studies at the University of Reading in the UK.
He said Mariyah is a single mother raising three children who are still studying, and that her business has not fully recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“My client’s business has been severely affected following this case as there is a campaign to boycott her products,” he said.
“The second accused is only a student who relies on his mother for funds,” he said, requesting bail of below RM10,000.
Sazali, however, argued that the proposed bail amount was within the accused’s means. He also said the duo could apply to the court for their passports if they needed to travel overseas.
“As for the second accused, so far, his lawyer has yet to submit any documents to prove that he is a student,” he said.
Judge Sabri Ismail set bail at RM15,000 for Mariyah and RM10,000 for Ezuan. He also allowed the prosecution’s request for their passports to be withheld and for Mariyah and Ezuan to refrain from making any statements which could affect the court proceedings.
The court set Jan 12 for submission of documents.