Refugee activist Heidy Quah gets DNAA for improper use of network facilities

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Charges against Quah were defective.

The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today gave a discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) to the founder of a non-governmental organisation, Refuge for the Refugees, on improper use of network facilities by initiating the transmission of offensive communications on refugees in the country through Facebook.

The decision was made by Judge MM Edwin Paramjothy after allowing a preliminary objection filed by Heidy Quah Gaik Li, 28, that the charges against her were defective and did not comply with the requirements of Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 and Sections 152 to 154 of the Criminal Procedures Code (CPC).

Quah’s counsel, New Sin Yew who confirmed the matter said, in a nutshell, the judge found that the charge was not in compliance with Sections 152 to 154 of the CPC as the charge failed to adhere to the strict language of S233 CMA and that the charge lacks the necessary legal ingredients.

“The accused is left in the dark guessing as to the charge made against her. Her rights under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution have been infringed by the non-compliance with the provisions in the CPC.

“Thus, to allow the trial to go on would be an abuse of process, and would diminish or render the accused’s constitutional right to be ineffective or illusory,” he said.

On July 27, Quah, who is a recipient of the Women of the Future Award, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Bernama

The woman was charged with knowingly making and initiating the transmission of offensive communications by claiming refugees at the Immigration detention centre were ill-treated with intent to annoy others via Facebook using the profile name “Heidy Quah” at 5.30am on June 5, 2020.

The charge was framed under Section 233 (1) (a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to one year or both and a further fine of RM1,000 for each day the offence is continued after conviction, if convicted.

She was allowed bail of RM2,000 with one surety.