Lawyers for Liberty calls for Patrick Teoh’s immediate release

Melissa questioned why the authorities feel the need to take Teoh to Johor and remand him for three days for further investigation, when he was fully cooperating with the police. Source (pic): The Online Citizen

لاوييرس فور ليبرتي مينتا ڤتريچق تيوه دلڤسكن سرتا-مرتا

Human rights and law reform non-governmental organisation Lawyers for Liberty said it views with extreme concern the arrest and remand of Patrick Teoh. 

The veteran radio personality, news presenter and actor was arrested over an allegation that he insulted the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, on social media. 

Director of Lawyers for Liberty Melissa Sasidaran said section 233 of the CMA, which governs the “improper use of network facilities or services”, is poorly defined, leaving it vague and open to arbitrary interpretations. 

“We call upon the police to drop this unnecessary investigation and release Patrick Teoh without delay,” she said.


KUALA LUMPUR: Human rights and law reform non-governmental organisation Lawyers for Liberty said it views with extreme concern the arrest and remand of Patrick Teoh.

The veteran radio personality, news presenter and actor was arrested over an allegation that he insulted the Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, on social media.




Although the post has since been deleted, Teoh is accused of re-sharing a video of the Crown Prince and others dressed in military garb last year, with a comment.

He was summoned for questioning by the police on May 9 at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters, and was then arrested, had his laptop seized and was taken to Johor for further investigation.

On 10 May, the 72-year-old was remanded for three days for investigations under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).

Director of Lawyers for Liberty Melissa Sasidaran said section 233 of the CMA, which governs the “improper use of network facilities or services”, is poorly defined, leaving it vague and open to arbitrary interpretations.

She also questioned why the authorities feel the need to take Teoh to Johor and remand him for three days for further investigation, when he was fully cooperating with the police.

“The remand is clearly unnecessary, excessive and appears to have been intended as pre-trial punishment for the alleged crime,” she said in a statement.

She added that in the time of Covid-19, such an act also goes against international guidance which, in the interests of public health, calls for a reduction in the number of people held in detention.

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Melissa described the investigation as being high-handed and brings the administration of justice into disrepute.

She added that the role of the police is to maintain public order and prevent crimes, not to be the arbiter of what is acceptable speech on social media.

“The police must be able to differentiate between impolite or even “insulting” remarks that are not criminal in nature. It should only be an offence if the remarks are threatening or inciting violence, and therefore ought to be investigated under the Penal Code,” she said.

Melissa also urged the authorities not to resort to the use of legislation which criminalises speech and undermines freedom of expression, as Section 233 of the CMA does.

“We remind the authorities that this was a mere social media post commenting on a public personality, not a threat or anything amounting to a genuine criminal offence.

“We call upon the police to drop this unnecessary investigation and release Patrick Teoh without delay,” she said.

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