Zaid Ibrahim Acquitted of Offensive Blog Posting Charge

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The judge ruled that the prosecution should have called Najib to confirm if he felt annoyed over the alleged offensive blog posting, which most of the witnesses found not annoying.

DAP member and former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim was acquitted yesterday over an allegedly offensive blog post he made in 2015 against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Justice Zaman Mohd Noor, who made the ruling, said the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case.

“The prosecution failed to sufficiently establish the case as there is a need to call the victim, [to ask] whether he is annoyed and how he felt,” he said.

Zaid was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) under which stipulates that another person who was annoyed had to be called to give evidence, which in this case would be Najib.

The judge added that witnesses also “contradicted with one another”.

The charge against Zaid is over his blog post entitled ‘Rally Behind Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’ on Sept 2, 2015.

Zaid was accused of uploading his comments with the “intention to upset others”.

The blog entry in question was a transcript of Zaid’s speech delivered at the Royal Selangor Club luncheon in which he alleged, among others, that Najib was obstructing investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd and urged Malaysians to support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s campaign to remove the prime minister.

Speaking to reporters later, Zaid said it was a simple case but the proceeding has taken a long and tedious process.

“I am happy today and I hope we can try to move on,” he said.

He also said his case would set a precedent for other similar cases.

“It’s refreshing to have a judge who sees things clearly and doesn’t worry about making such a decision,” he said.

Zaid insisted his blog post was never offensive and merely attempting to lift the spirit of change.

His lawyer Americk Sidhu later told reporters that most of the witnesses called by the prosecution stated they were not annoyed by the speech given in the blog posting and were contradictory.

“If we are looking at something that annoys somebody, we have to look at its intent and objectively,”  Americk said.

Zaid’s legal team included M Puravalen and Amarjit Sidhu.

Meanwhile, deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said the prosecution would appeal the court’s decision to acquit Zaid.

Those found guilty would face a fine of up to RM50,000 or a maximum one-year jail term or both, as well as a further fine of RM5,000 for every day the offence is continued after conviction under Section 233(3) of the CMA.