KUALA LUMPUR: Marina Mahathir has criticised the action by police to charge three Malaysians with insulting Prime Minister Najib Razak, calling it “ridiculous”.
She said politicians should expect to be insulted all the time, unless they believe they are perfect.
“It is quite ridiculous. If they arrested everyone who has ever insulted a politician, our jails would be filled till they are bursting,” the social activist told FMT.
Marina, who is the daughter of Pakatan Harapan chairman and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, added that politicians should be able to handle criticisms or insults, instead of forcefully swatting them away or bringing the people who utter such insults to court.
She was commenting on the charges against the three citizens at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588) which carries a maximum RM50,000 fine or one-year imprisonment or both, upon conviction.
Meanwhile, Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said the move will not endear Najib to the people of this country.
Paulsen added that there was nothing to be gained by prosecuting those who have insulted the prime minister on social media, with the purpose presumably “to protect his image and to demand that he be respected”.
“Respect, as is commonly said, must be earned, not demanded or gained through fear.
“Therefore, investigating and prosecuting the people on such frivolous matters will only have the opposite effect,” he said.
Recruiter Nor Sabariah Abdul Kadir, 29, was reportedly accused of leaving a comment about Najib on the Otai Bersih Facebook page with the intention to insult another person. She is alleged to have committed the offence at 5.11pm on Feb 1.
Storekeeper Ng Thai Quen, 19, was accused of posting an edited image of Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, on his Facebook page between 7pm on Dec 15, 2016, and 7am on Dec 16, 2016.
Roti canai seller Mazlan Yusoff was accused of posting an article titled “Zimbabwe Today Is M’sia Tomorrow” with an edited photo of Najib and China’s former leader Mao Ze Dong. He is alleged to have committed the offence using a Facebook profile under the name “Zain Al Aznam” at 2.53am on Nov 11, 2016.