Current Affairs

Can Malaysians be arrested for sedition against other countries?

On the 28th of October, DAP’s Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu was arrested for sharing a social media post about the massive protests that are currently happening in Thailand.

The political unrest in Bangkok made headlines around the world and was reported on major broadcasting agencies including CNN, BBC, and the Guardian.

Every major news agency covered the massive protests in Bangkok.

Even local news agencies like The Star, Astro Awani, Malaysiakini, and The Malay Mail covered the news. Netizens as well took to social media to discuss what was going on in Thailand.

So why was Ronnie arrested for sharing the same news?

The post on Ronnie’s Facebook page contained a photo of demonstrations in Thailand with the caption, “Now in Bangkok. They are saying no to the King.”

There was no article insulting Thai’s monarchy, there was no statement showing support to the protesters. It was simply a post reporting what was currently happening in Thailand.

According to PDRM, Ronnie’s arrest was made to allow them to conduct investigations under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

In a statement released last Friday, MP for Bukit Gelugor, Ramkarpal Singh questioned how Ronnie’s posting would come under the purview of the Sedition Act, 1948 which only applies to offensive remarks of various local institutions?

It is crystal clear that one cannot commit sedition in this country by commenting about the political situation of another country, like Thailand” – Ramkarpal Singh

A hypothetical situation: If there were to be protests against the British royal family, would Malaysians be arrested for sharing the news on social media?

Ronnie’s arrest has set a dangerous precedent about sedition in Malaysia. While sedition is a serious offense, it is clear that Ronnie is not guilty of it. What is the future for netizens on social media? Do we need to stay silent on the political events in other countries?

This is a pertinent question that needs to be answered by the Inspector-General. Can a Facebook posting about the political situation of another country be subject to a sedition probe in this country?

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