Chronic Twitterer and the man behind the popular BlogSerius site Effi Nazrel Saharuddin, better known by his Twitter handle @1Obefiend, claimed trial to two counts of insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with two of his tweets.
In a statement released yesterday, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) said Effi was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for his “offensive tweets”.
If found guilty, Effi may be fined RM50,000 or not more than a year in prison, or both.
“The prosecution was made after investigations by the MCMC found that the suspect acted with awareness and his comments had attracted negative reactions from the public,” The Malay Mail Online quoted the MCMC as stating.
Section 233 states the offence as “the online transmission of any comment, request, suggestion, or other communication which is ‘obscene, indecent, false or offensive’ with intent to ‘annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person’.”
“The charge isn’t for ‘insulting Sultan. There was nothing in the charge about ‘insulting’. It is ‘comment which is offensive in nature with intent to annoy another person’,” civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan, who is Effi’s counsel, told The Malay Mail Online’‘s Zurairi AR.
According to the MCMC, the two “offensive tweets” were composed and published by Effi on June 1.
The first tweet is as follows: “they have a point. Agong is just a puppet. Down with monarchy. A waste of rakyats money” in reply to users @IzranSalleh and @norfaiz.
In the second tweet, Effi asks: “Soalan serius. Rakyat bayar elaun dan istana agong. Technically speaking he works for us. So why do we put him on a tandu?”
(Translation: “Serious question. The people pay for the palace and allowance of the Agong. Technically speaking, he works for us. So why do we put him on a pedestal?”)