ABSURD, undemocratic and totally unacceptable.
These were the general consensus among legal experts on the one month jail sentence and a hefty fine imposed on graphic designer Fahmi Reza by the Ipoh Sessions Court today for posting an edited image of Prime Minister Najib Razak on Facebook.
The court decision raised alarm bells, with one law expert questioning if Malaysia was emulating Thailand where punitive measures are taken against those who criticised the country’s monarch.
Universiti Malaya law lecturer Azmi Sharom said if laws were used selectively to protect one individual or a special group from legitimate criticism, it echoes of “lese majeste” (insulting the monarch or other ruler).
Thailand has a strict draconian lese-majeste law which forbids any insult to the monarchy.
Azmi said the decision against Fahmi also placed restrictions on the freedom of speech and made it an offence if anyone poked fun at a politician. Read more