Lawyers group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today asked if the prime minister agreed with the recent arrest of an auxiliary policewoman over an allegedly insulting comment on Facebook, saying crude or offensive remarks on their own do not warrant criminal investigation.
In a statement, LFL director Zaid Malek said the bar for police action would be if the speech might cause direct or imminent physical harm or seriously threaten public order.
“The prime minister, ministers or the government hold no special position in law, nor can any insult to their reputations fall under the ‘public order or morality’ exception,” it said.
The volunteer policewoman was arrested on Sept 28 after a report lodged by a senior police officer.
The case is being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code, Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 and Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1955.
LFL director Zaid Malek said arrests over remarks deemed to be insulting were a consequence of the government’s failure to do away with “repressive laws” such as the CMA, reminding Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders of their pledge to repeal Section 233 (1)(a) of the act during their time in the opposition.
“The law remains in use in this high-handed manner because of their refusal to repeal it,” he said.
“Does Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim agree with the arrest of this lady over an alleged insult to himself, and will he do the right thing by urging police to release her without charge?
“Are police resources to be wasted by arresting ordinary tax-paying Malaysians for the sake of protecting Anwar’s reputation?”