A Malaysian man has been arrested for allegedly insulting a royal family on his Facebook page even as the government announced plans to repeal the Sedition Act.
Police detained 27-year old Ahmad Abd Jalil, a quantity surveyor, in Kuala Lumpur on Friday and he was handed to police in Johor, where he may have to plead for forgiveness from the sultan of the southern state.
“Police told the family they may take Ahmad to the palace to beg the Sultan’s pardon and then they can drop the case but that is highly unconstitutional,” Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Ahmad’s lawyer, told AFP.
Johor police have yet to confirm the details. “I cannot comment on this as it is extremely sensitive,” Johor Baru district police chief Ruslan Hassan said.
Ahmad’s brother, who asked not to be named, told The Malaysian Insider that his brother was vocal of both local and global politics. “He is well-versed with politics, that is true. And from what I know, he made a few comments on his Facebook that could have courted trouble. But I do not know what it is… I cannot access it.”
The Sedition Act was initially deemed necessary to curb racial conflict in the country. Ahmad’s arrest is at least the third case related to the Johor royal house in two years. Royal families are widely revered by the majority Malay Muslim population.