Civil Societies Slam Ronnie Liu’s Arrest, Say It “Makes No Sense”

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Three civil societies have condemned the arrest of a DAP state assemblyman for sedition over a Facebook posting on the protests taking place in Thailand, saying it made no sense as it was not relevant to the Malaysian context.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) and the Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) cast doubt on Ronnie Liu’s arrest based on a posting he made about the political situation in another country.

“The investigation initiated against Ronnie Liu does not make any sense in the context of the laws and legal thresholds in Malaysia.

“It is farfetched for the police and the ‘public’ complainant to read into the post and insinuate that such a post can be construed as an affront to the Malaysian monarchy,” the three organisations said in a joint statement.

The statement was signed by Suaram director Sevan Doraisamy, Bersih 2.0 executive director Yap Swee Seng, and CIJ executive director Wathshlah G Naidu.

They further explained that the Sedition Act 1948 as legislation is purely domestic in its nature and does not outlaw any commentaries or critique against foreign governments or other entities.

They urged the police to explain the context that the Sedition Act 1948 was cited and used to arrest and detain Liu.

Facebook

Ronnie Liu (left) outside the Petaling Jaya IPD after he was released on bail. 

“Failing to do so, the police can only be described as acting arbitrarily and against Malaysian law and Malaysian interest as they have arrested and detained a people’s representative for a mere notification on the political development of a neighbouring country without any due justification.”

They reminded that the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) must be in place to investigate police misconduct.

They also reiterated their call for the Sedition Act to be abolished.

In his posting, which Liu said was made two weeks ago, the latter had published photographs of the protest in Thailand, with the caption: “Now in Bangkok. They are saying no to the king.”

The post also contained Chinese text, which reads: “Current situation in Bangkok.”

His posting had made the rounds on social media, with certain quarters asking if he was instigating Malaysians to do the same.

Liu was nabbed yesterday morning for sedition after arriving for questioning at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters. He has since been released on police bail.