MAJU PRESS STATEMENT: PATRICK TEOH’S ARREST AN UNJUSTIFIABLE CURB ON HIS FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

MAJU is gravely concerned with the recent arrest of Patrick Teoh for allegedly insulting HRH Tengku Mahkota Johor (TMJ), where he was brought to the Petaling Jaya Commercial Crimes Investigation Department to have his statement recorded, and subsequently brought to the Johor Baru Selatan police headquarters for remand. He is currently under remand till 12 May 2020.

Patrick is a well-known and long-time commentator on public interest issues and developments in the nation, and although candid and forthright, has always abided by the laws of the country in his public comments. He is also a patriot and is currently adviser to MAJU. We are confident that the police investigation will conclude that there is no basis for such allegations and look forward to his release immediately.

By no stretch of imagination can the common satirical phrase purportedly used by Patrick Teoh in his posting on his personal Facebook page be interpreted as a rude taunt.

It should be further noted that Patrick Teoh is an elderly who is not in the best of health, and as such all medical safety measures and attention should be accorded to him whilst he is under remand and at all material times.

MAJU respectfully call on HRH TMJ to disassociate himself from such insignificant complaint and implore for Patrick Teoh’s immediate release.

In such unprecedented and trying times faced by Malaysia under the Movement Control Order, the government of the day must resist taking advantage of the circumstances and show wisdom in protecting the constitutional rights of Malaysian citizens in the exercise of their freedom of expression. This brings to mind the famous quote by Abraham Lincoln when he said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

This unjustifiable and unnecessary investigation on Patrick Teoh under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988 must be halted if we wish to declare meaningfully that we live in a democratic society, and that Malaysians must have the democratic space to express themselves.

MAJU continues to emphasise that human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments must be adhered to.

The oppressive provisions under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988 must be repealed.

Let’s MAJU together for Malaysia
Siti Zabedah Kasim
Founder
Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity
10 May 2020

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