Defining what are royal insults
Published on: Friday, January 11, 2019
By: Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: The government is to define the words or actions that can be construed as insults to the institution of the monarchy, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The proper definition of these words or actions was necessary for enforcement in the future, he said when asked to comment on the arrest of three people under the Sedition Act for having allegedly used insulting words against Sultan Muhammad V who has stepped down as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Right now, the enforcement authorities do not understand what tantamounts to an insult, so we have to spell out what the actions or words are that can be construed as insulting,” he told a press conference after chairing a meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption here.

Asked about the new legislation to be drafted to protect the sanctity of the institution of the monarchy from insults, as announced by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong earlier today, Dr Mahathir said the government would find the proper definition for insult.

Several quarters have criticised the arrest of the three people yesterday to assist in the investigation into the alleged posting of insults on the social media over the resignation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. 

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia now practised freedom of speech where individuals who spoke facts could not be faulted.

“On the contrary, if we prohibit everyone from speaking, so much so that they do not even report when a crime occurs, there will be injustice in our country,” he said.

Meanwhile the government will continue looking for businessman Low Taek Jho or Jho Low although it is difficult, Tun Dr Mahathir said.

“There are only seven billion people (in the world), so it’s not very difficult.

“We can find a needle in a haystack, and he will be the needle,” he said.

Jho Low, identified by Malaysian and United States investigators as the person who played the key role in the billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, is believed to have left Hong Kong to an island near Macau. 

An online portal reported that Jho Low has dismissed The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report claiming that he had a role in facilitating deals with China to bail out 1MDB in 2016 in exchange for lucrative contracts.

Jho Low, in a statement from his spokesman issued through his lawyers, claimed that the article contained “half-truths” and blamed Dr Mahathir’s administration for it. Asked about Jho Low’s accusations that it was politically motivated, Dr Mahathir said the fugitive businessman has said that many times before.

“He was politically motivated to steal money,” said Dr Mahathir.

On the WSJ report, Dr Mahathir said the government needed to get the documents mentioned in the report before taking any action.

“We need to find the documents first and make use of the documents as proof that this actually happened. At the moment, it’s just a story in the press,” he said.

Citing minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings, the WSJ reported on Monday that Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that Beijing would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations that allies of the then prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and others plundered 1MDB.

In return, the WSJ said, Malaysia offered lucrative stakes in railway and pipeline projects for China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ programme of building infrastructure abroad.

The WSJ said the deals include the East Coast Rail Link and Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline projects, which were reported to be financed at an above-market value to generate excess cash for other needs.



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