Man cries after being jailed for offensive comment on Facebook

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KUALA LUMPUR: A construction site supervisor was sentenced to a year’s jail by the Sessions Court here, after he pleaded guilty to posting an offensive comment on the Aidilfitri celebration, on Facebook in June this year.

Judge Azman Mustapha passed the sentence on Chow Mun Fai, 36, and ordered that the jail term start from Sept 09 (Tuesday).

Earlier, the charge under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and punishable with a fine of up to RM50,000 or a maximum of one year’s jail, or both, was read out to the accused, who immediately was seen sobbing.

Azman said the guilty plea of the accused was a mitigating factor in asking for a lenient sentence, but public interest overrode the accused’s personal interest.

“A heavy sentence on the accused is given, not just as a lesson for him but also as a reminder to the public not to use the Internet facility to put up offensive statements which can anger others to the extent of disrupting harmony in society,” the judge said.

Chow was charged with misusing the Internet service application, Facebook, by posting an offensive comment with the intention of hurting the feelings of others. The offence was committed at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in Sentul Park, Sentul, here, at 10.30am on June 12, 2014.

DPP Suhaimi Ibrahim had asked for a heavy sentence for Chow, as his posting had ridiculed the Islamic religion and this could invite responses from others, which could destroy mutual respect in society.

Chow’s lawyer Ahmad Ridza Mohd Noh pleaded for a lenient sentence, saying his client had tuberculosis and gastritis, besides having to care for his parents. — Bernama

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Sept 10, 2014.