PETALING JAYA: The Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) group has condemned the arrest of two teenagers to assist in an investigation of a viral video depicting a high school student condemning this year’s Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) History exam paper.
FMT reported that LFL director Zaid Malek said that he was dismayed by the authorities’ ‘heavy-handed’ approach and urged the Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution and Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil to elaborate on the use of Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) against school students.
“The boys were subjected to a police raid in their home. They were arrested and underwent a drug test. This would have caused extreme trauma to them and their family. And all this over a video where they vented their frustrations on their SPM History paper.
“Even if there were unsavoury comments that were uttered, it does not warrant intervention by the police. It should have been a matter for the school authorities and parents to deal with.
“They were just teenagers who were being childish and had already apologised for the video that they made, yet they were treated like hardened criminals,” Zaid said.
Zaid mentioned that CMA, which is being used against the school boys, is a contradiction to the freedom of speech and goes against promises of reformation by the current government as well as opposing the freedom of expression that is guaranteed in the constitution.
“We strongly condemn the overzealous and arbitrary actions of the police in dealing with the arrest of the teenagers, and urge that all police action cease and the matter be handed to school authorities.
“Criticisms on the governments should not be criminalised, and childish vents by teenagers even less so,” he added.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen had called to cease all investigations related to the viral video.
“What is more important in this case is the well-being of the student. Such disproportionate action may cause unnecessary stigma, mental stress and fear, contrary to the spirit to educate and mould our young.
“That is why I call for all investigations on the matter to be dropped, and the students be given the necessary guidance and support, rather than being intimidated and treated like a criminal,” Dr Kelvin said in a statement.
Hulu Langat district police chief Supt Suffian Abdullah stated that the police arrested both boys, aged 18, yesterday after receiving reports from a teacher.
Sufian also said Hulu Selangor district police headquarters’ criminal investigation department (CID) had arrested the students at their homes and confiscated their mobile phones.