3 arrested for insulting former Malaysian king on social media

KUALA LUMPUR: Two men and one woman have been arrested for allegedly insulting former Malaysian king Sultan Muhammad V in relation to his recent abdication, Inspector-General of Royal Malaysia Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said on Wednesday (Jan 9).

He said the men were aged 46 and 27, and the woman, 26. They were arrested on Tuesday.

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Last Sunday, Sultan Muhammad V stepped down as Malaysia’s king, confirming rumours that were circulating online during the week.

READ: Malaysian government hopes new king can be elected soon – Mahathir

“The arrests were made after we received a number of reports regarding users of social media accounts posting comments containing insults toward Sultan Muhammad V,” the police chief said in the statement.

“Those who were arrested are the owners of two Twitter accounts (@azhamakhtar and @aliaastaman) and the owner of a Facebook account with the name Eric Liew,” he added.

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READ: Shock, sadness in Malaysia over Sultan Muhammad V’s resignation as king

The two Twitter accounts and the original Facebook post by Eric Liew appeared to have been taken down as of Wednesday afternoon, though screenshots of the alleged insults continued to be widely shared.  

Liew’s employer Cisco ASEAN announced that he had left the company, in a Facebook post uploaded just after midnight on Tuesday morning. 

However, a United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) Youth member said on Tuesday it would proceed with its protest against Cisco ASEAN at KL Sentral at 1.30pm on the same day.

“We will push Cisco ASEAN to give an official response with all the proper letters,” Selangor UMNO Youth deputy chief Amin Mohd Shukor reportedly told Malay Mail, while acknowledging Cisco ASEAN’s clarification that Liew was no longer its employee.

Mohamad Fuzi said the three individuals involved will be investigated under Malaysia’s Sedition Act.

“The public is advised 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,” the police chief added.

READ: Malaysian king’s shock resignation unlikely to affect respect for monarchy, say analysts

Online reports in November said the 49-year-old monarch recently married 25-year-old former beauty queen Oksana Voevodina, who held the title of Miss Moscow in 2015.


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