The Inspector-General of the Royal Malasia Police announced that three people have been arrested for insulting the former Malaysian king Sultan Muhammad V.
The individuals arrested under the Sedition act were Eric Liew Chee Ling aged 46; 27-year-old Azham Akhtar Abdullah and 26-year-old Nur Alia Astaman.
Earlier in the week, Sultan Muhammad V abdicated from the throne, a first in Malaysian history.
The police chief said that the arrests were made after they “received a number of reports regarding users of social media accounts posting comments containing insults toward Sultan Muhammad V”
One of the individuals appeared to tweet: “Leave him be. Let’s not have royals anymore”, while another posted “F*** Royals”. Another individual made a post on Facebook. All of the accounts and posts have since been deleted.
Eric Liew was employed by Cisco, a technology company headquartered in California, which said in a Facebook post: “Cisco firmly believes in respecting and honouring local Malaysian traditions and laws. The remark was made by the employee in his personal capacity and does not represent Cisco’s views. We deeply regret any distress caused and apologise. The employee has also issued an apology and is no longer with the company.
The Inspector-General advised the public to “Use social media prudently and refrain from making statements that are provocative or that misconstrue the abdication of Yang di-Pertuan Agong XV, to the extent of causing a negative perception toward the royal institution of this country.”
Latheefa Koya, executive director of rights group Lawyers for Liberty said: The police should not give into mob rule amid the push by some people for the authorities to act.”
Lawyers for Liberty also criticised the sedition act as they called it a “draconian piece of legislation.”
Upon coming to power, the government promised to abolish the Sedition Act and other repressive laws, however, they are yet to do so and the police still make use of the powers.