Indie book writer Firdaus Abdillah Hamzah, better known as @pipiyapong, who allegedly insulted Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim, has been released on police bail.
Johor police chief Datuk Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd said Firdaus Abdillah, 36, was detained in Kuala Lipis, Pahang at 11.15am Thursday (May 9).
He said a police report was lodged on May 4 by a 37-year-old man over a Twitter posting by @pipiyapong.
“The posting contained insults aimed at Tunku Mahkota Johor,” Khalil said in a statement on Friday (May 10).
He added that Firdaus was being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace and Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act for misusing network facilities and services.
Firdaus is also editor-in-chief of Malay online magazine, Neon Berapi.
Earlier, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had expressed regret over Firdaus’ arrest.
He was reported as saying that the people should be free to criticise their leaders and that freedom of speech was crucial in a democratic country.
In recent weeks, Dr Mahathir has emerged as Tunku Ismail’s biggest critic following a fallout with the Johor palace over various issues.
Meanwhile, activist and graphic designer Fahmi Reza posted on his Facebook post about Firdaus’ arrest, adding that he was detained in a police station in Tampoi, Johor, over the alleged tweets.
“After a year in power, the new (Pakatan Harapan) government should not follow the previous regime, which uses the law to limit social media users, and arrest people for ‘sakitkan hati orang lain’ (hurting people’s feelings) on Twitter,” he added.
Meanwhile, Tunku Ismail, on his Twitter account, distanced himself from the incident, adding that the Johor Palace has not made any police report up to today.
“If there is any report, it could be made by other people. This has nothing to do with us,” he wrote.
The Johor Prince also noted that he and the royal family would like to carry out their responsibility and worship with the rakyat during the holy month of Ramadan.