Malaysian police said yesterday they were investigating the people behind MP Hannah Yeoh’s Facebook page over a “seditious” statement posted online back in March.
The statement allegedly said that child marriages would spread in the country since a member of the Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, was at the helm of the Women and Family Development Ministry. Police said the statement “could threaten harmony” and had been investigating for three months.
Yeoh had already clarified that the statement that first appeared in a socio-political blog was shared to her page to inform netizens that she had not said such a thing. But police are proceeding with investigations anyway.
“The owner of the Facebook account will be called to have their statement taken to explain the post as it has seditious tendencies that could threaten harmony,” Federal CID director Comm Huzir Mohamed said yesterday. They are being investigated under the Communications and Multimedia Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000 (about US$23,000) and a two-year prison sentence.
Police did not explain why it was announcing the investigation three months after it began on March 11, the same day the quote in question was shared on Yeoh’s page.
The quote in question had said: “Considering that the deputy minister of women and family development is from PAS, marriage with a minor (to permit sex with children) will spread after this. This is the disease of Muslims in this country. So uncivilized.”
In Yeoh’s clarification, she said: “Cybertroopers working overtime nowadays. This is a false statement. Stop the slander.”
The quote was originally posted on the socio-political Muafakatnasional blog before it was deleted.
The police are also investigating the Democratic Action Party politician over a March 9 tweet in which she questioned the country’s plans to “fight child marriage.” Two days ago, Yeoh said she was summoned by the police over a tweet that read: “What will happen to our national road map to fight child marriage with the appointment of MP from PAS (Malaysia’s Islamic political party) as deputy minister of @KPWKM?”
“I have been called to Bukit Aman (federal police headquarters) to give a statement regarding this tweet,” she said.
Saya telah dipanggil oleh Bukit Aman untuk memberi keterangan bagi siasatan mengenai tweet ini. Sekarang ini, tanya soalan pun tak boleh. Sidang Parlimen bulan Mei juga tak diberi peluang tanya soalan. Roadmap ini hasil kerja kuat pentadbiran bawah PH @drwanazizah. pic.twitter.com/M72pb5p1I6
— Hannah Yeoh (@hannahyeoh) June 16, 2020
She later added: “Now, we can’t even ask questions. We weren’t allowed to ask anything during the previous parliament sitting in May. This roadmap (combating child marriage) was under the efforts of Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope).”
Some politicians have called out the police for its investigation against Yeoh. Former deputy prime minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail urged the authorities to be fair regarding their criminal investigation.
“I would like to remind Putrajaya not to commit political intimidation to Members of Parliament who carry out their duty to voice the people’s issues,” Wan Azizah said.
Parliament member Azalina Said Othman also slammed the probe as “unnecessary” and a “bad precedent.”
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