Crackhouse Comedy Club co-founder Rizal Van Geyzel has pleaded not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to three counts of posting offensive content on his social media accounts.
Rizal, or his full name Mohd Rizal Van Geyzel, claimed trial to the charges after they were read out by the court interpreter before Sessions Court judge Nor Hasniah Ab Razak on Friday (July 22).
The stand-up comedian, who wore a white shirt and blue slacks, only answered “tidak” (no) when asked whether he was pleading guilty or not to the charges.
The first charge was over a video posted to Facebook on July 4, the second over an Instagram post on July 6 and the third over a TikTok video on July 5.
In the video, posted to those three social media platforms, Rizal had allegedly cracked a joke about racial stereotypes.
In the short clip that was circulating online, Rizal joked about Malay stereotypes.
“I am mixed race. My dad is Dutch and Chinese, my mum is Malay and Turkish.
“Do you know what these two mixes make me? Bumiputra. Because it is about having the right amount of Malay in you. Not enough to make you lazy but enough to get you funding,” he had said, according to the charge sheet.
Rizal was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, an offence punishable under Section 233(3) of the same Act.
He faces a maximum fine of RM50,000 or up to one year imprisonment and can be fined RM1,000 each if the offence continues after conviction.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Noor Haslinda Che Seman told the court that the prosecution was not offering bail as the offence touched on racial sensitivity.
However, the prosecution suggested RM30,000 bail if the court uses its discretion to grant bail to the accused.
Meanwhile, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh asked the court to allow a RM2,000 bail for each charge.
He said the accused is his family’s sole breadwinner and has three children aged between three and 11, one of whom has dyslexia.
He said Rizal also takes care of his 74-year-old father and helps to pay the cost of his cancer treatment.
Judge Nor Hasniah then granted a RM12,000 bail for all charges and ordered for Rizal to surrender his passport to the court.
Rizal is also barred from making any posts or comments on the case on his social media.
The case has been fixed for mention on Aug 19.
It is understood that Rizal paid the bail.