Cops probing The Malaysian Insider over coverage of royal Facebook slur

Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider

The Johor police have started criminal defamation investigations against The Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini for their coverage of last week’s arrest of a man who allegedly insulted the Johor Sultan on his Facebook page.

Johor CID deputy director Asst Comm Nor Azizan Anan said the probe was following two police reports lodged by state police on articles carried by the two news portals regarding the arrest, Berita Harian reported today.

“On the arrest, The Malaysian Insider and Malaysiakini published articles on the investigation and arrests last Saturday and Sunday.

“Following the publication, the Johor police lodged two reports on the articles and an investigation is being carried out under Section 500 of the Penal Code,” he was quoted as saying in the Malay daily.

ACP Azizan said the authors of the articles and those named in the reports will be summoned for questioning.

Section 500 of the Penal Code, which outlines the penalty for defamation, stipulates that “whoever defames another shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

Ahmad Abd Jalil (picture), a 27-year-old quantity surveyor, was detained by police at his office on Friday night under the Sedition Act for a Facebook posting that allegedly insulted the Johor Sultan.

The Malaysian Insider reported the arrest and subsequent events following his detention on Saturday, quoting details from Ahmad’s lawyer Mohd Zakwan Adenan and a sibling who refused to be named.

On Sunday, this news portal carried another report on the incident, this time quoting the Ahmad’s father Abd Jalil Abd Rahman, who expressed his family’s fear over his son’s safety while under police remand.

Yesterday, Abd Jalil told The Malaysian Insider that his son was released from remand under orders from a Johor magistrate but was later rearrested and placed back into police custody, this time for another probe under a different law.

“Legally, Ahmad has been FREED by d magistrate. But d POLIS wants 2take him back to IPK. We are insisting that Ahmad follow us. Police still…?” Abd Jalil had said in an SMS.

IPK refers to “ibu pejabat polis kontinjen” or the Johor police contingent headquarters, where the 27-year-old Ahmad has been held for the past few days.

English-language daily The Star had yesterday quoted acting Johor CID chief ACP Abd Aziz Ahmad as saying in a statement that Ahmad’s offensive posts were published on October 21 and had implied that Sultan Ibrahim was unfit to be the state ruler.

According to the news report, Ahmad is also being investigated under the Communications and Multimedia Act.