Taking photograph or recording a video of police carrying out their investigation is an offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing public servant in discharge of his or her public functions.
Police today said it is illegal to record any police operation in the midst of an investigation.
They said this also applies to the attempted raid on a Universiti Malaya student leader’s house on Saturday.
In the incident, Kajang police arrested former Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany) leader Wong Yan Ke, 24, who was filming the operation and broadcasting it on Facebook Live.
Wong was recording the raid on the home of the movement’s current president, Robin Yap Wen Qing.
Several members of Umany are under investigation over the association’s post on Facebook titled “Yang di-Pertuan Agong should not intervene in national affairs”.
In a statement today, Federal Criminal Investigation Department chief Huzir Mohamed said all police investigations were confidential in nature.
He said police arrested a 23-year-old man, whom he did not name, for “ignoring police orders to stop filming the attempted raid” and for “disturbing the investigation process”.
Huzir is believed to be referring to Wong.
According to Huzir, the refusal to follow police orders was an obstruction and disobedience towards a public servant, an offence under Sections 186 and 188 of the Penal Code.
“It must be reminded that each investigation is confidential and cannot be revealed at will, what more spread on social media. While it is not criminal for one to take photos or videos, if spread on social media, it may affect an investigation.
“It also constitutes making an abusive post online under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998,” he said.
Huzir said the man refused to cooperate with raiding officers, despite being shown police authority cards.
He said police were there to raid a house under Section 8(2) of the Sedition Act 1948, which allows them to search a place without a warrant if they feel they might lose key evidence while getting a warrant.
He also said police had received 41 police reports over the posting by Umany.
Wong was detained for 15 hours and is out on police bail.
Following his arrest, Bar president Salim Bashir said recording a police raid does not constitute an offence.
Another lawyer claimed the “rough handling” of the former student leader recording the police raid was “a clear case of assault” and asked Wong to lodge a police report.
Activist Ng Yap Hwa lodged a report against Wong’s arrest at the Petaling police station last night.
Wong’s arrest was criticised by groups such as Transparency International-Malaysia and Bersih 2.0, which also accused the police of bias in its investigations, as Senate President Rais Yatim had also raised questions over the Agong’s exercise of his powers in a Twitter post on Oct 26.
Both Rais and Umany had noted that under Article 40 of the Federal Constitution, the king must act in accordance with the cabinet’s advice, except on three matters: the appointment of the prime minister, in refusing a request to dissolve the Parliament and in convening a meeting among the Malay rulers.