Police arrest columnist who raised alarm over May 13 TikTok videos

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Police have arrested columnist Zulfadzli Halim for allegedly posting seditious content on his Twitter account.

Police said Zulfadzli, 39, had uploaded a video that had “racial elements which could cause tension between ethnicities in Malaysia”.

He is being investigated under the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act, police secretary Noorsiah Mohd Saaduddin said in a statement.

Zulfadzil has been remanded for three days starting today, she added.

Also announcing his arrest on Twitter, Zulfadzli, who writes for The Malaysian Insight, said he is unclear which video the police are referring to but was told it was due to content maligning the Agong.

For the record, I fully respect the Agong to the extent that I always use the full title ‘YDPA’.

“I was not told which tweet is said to be maligning YDPA,” he said, using the acronym for Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“I also would like to know. Berani kerana benar (Courage for truth),” he said.

Although it is not clear when he “maligned the Agong”, Malaysiakini’s checks found he had on Nov 21 raised the alarm over inflammatory content on the social media platform TikTok.


He showed evidence that TikTok users were threatening a repeat of the May 13, 1969, communal riots.

In his tweet, Zulfadzli shared how some of the videos included the brandishing of weapons, such as the keris.

“Besides using the keyword May 13, you can also use ‘sound’ to look for videos which show weapons,” he said.

TikTok videos can be uploaded with original audio or with chosen soundtracks.

The “May 13” videos which Zulfadzli found on TikTok all used the same soundtrack.

“I attach here what I have found,” he said while tagging the police force and TikTok Malaysia, to urge them to take action.

Zulfadzli said he had reported the videos to TikTok as well, but many were still not removed two hours later.

On Nov 20, Zulfadzli shared another video, in which DAP leaders were accused of being anti-Malay, as proof of how DAP was being smeared among the Malay community.

Malaysiakini earlier reported the proliferation of inflammatory clips on TikTok threatening interethnic violence, soon after the conclusion of the 15th general election on Nov 19.

TikTok is a social platform popular with young people, with 41 percent of its followers aged between 16 to 24.

TikTok told Malaysiakini that it is aggressively removing content which is “violative”, although many social media users said TikTok told them the contents they reported did not violate the code of conduct. – Malaysiakini