A Malaysian reporter has been arrested after using Twitter and Facebook to insult the Sultan of Johor, a ceremonial position dating back to the 1600s.
Malaysian Undergraduates Solidarity media secretary Ahmad Shukri Kamarudin was arrested after making disparaging remarks against Sultan Ibrahim Ismail, Egypt-based news website Bikya Masr reported.
The details of Kamarudin’s remarks and the length of his detainment are unclear. But if recent arrests are any indication, Kamarudin could be facing an intense legal battle.
Earlier this week, blogger Syed Abdullah—known online as “Uncle Seekers”— was arrested for insulting Ismail on his personal blog. He could face up to seven years in jail, Bikya Masr reported.
“Syed Abdullah's arrest is unacceptable," said watchdog group Reporters Without Borders in a statement. "Government officials should not, under any circumstances, be able to use state secrets as a pretext for putting themselves above the law and flouting the fundamental right to information," it added.
These arrests come after reports that Malaysia was to pass a law that made its website-owning citizens legally responsible for everything found on their sites. The new bill, called the Evidence (Amendment) (No.2) Act 2012, would hold a person liable for everything his or her name is attached to, unless able to definitively prove otherwise.
The Sultan of Johor has been a controversial figure since taking the reins in January 2010 from his father. In early June, the Sultan paid about $200,000 to register the license plate “WWW1” for his custom-made Proton hatchback.
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