Steve Oh case: Police switch to criminal charge

The police investigation into the Steve Oh letter at Malaysiakini is now a criminal investigation and no longer under the Sedition Act. It is being investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code which relates to injuring the religious feelings of any person, for which the penalty is up to a year’s jail or fine or both.

(There is also an additional Section 298a which relates to causing religious disharmony or disunity or hatred – this carries a mandatory jail term of between two years and five years.) » Penal Code

Malaysiakini chief executive Premesh Chandran said seven police from Subang Jaya, including forensic squad members, visited Malaysiakini again today and left half an hour later after obtaining Steve Oh’s email address. They said they would be contacting him directly.

(Steve Oh is a Malaysian who has lived in Australia.)

Malaysiakini said no statement was recorded from anyone today. The police produced a new search warrant issued by a magistrate in Petaling Jaya, under Section 298 of Penal Code. They did not confiscate any item from Malaysiakini.

The Penal Code contains two sections relating to religion:

298. Uttering words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person
(penalty: up to one year’s jail, fine, or both)

298a. Causing, etc, disharmony, disunity, or feelings of enmity, hatred or illwill, or prejudicing, etc, the maintenance of harmony or unity, on grounds of religion.
(penalty: jail term of two years to five years, no fine)

Police threat to seize Malaysiakini computers

Steve Oh, in his open letter to Malaysiakini published earlier today said the police had threatened to take Malaysiakini’s compuers if they were not given his personal details. He wrote:

I am also told that unless you give the police my email contacts they will confiscate your computers. You have refused to give them any details without my permission. It is what a noble and principled journalist and newspaper will do even if there is nothing to hide. It is all about professional ethics and safeguarding the integrity of journalism.

I do not want you to lose your computers so please feel free to give the police my email details under protest and offer them every cooperation, but they may still confiscate your computers.

Steve Oh’s hopes for a just police force

News and views come and go but the police can make them last much longer. I don’t blame the police who have to follow orders and I look forward to when they will not be used to pursue trivial matters when the real criminals are out there. The police must also remember that they are accountable to a higher divine authority and must act justly and protect all citizens from slander and various forms of injustice.

» Full text of Steve Oh’s letter to Malaysiakini
» The Steve Oh letter to the editor on Monday


15 thoughts on “Steve Oh case: Police switch to criminal charge

  1. This letter should NOT be written in the first place & even if it did so, it shouldn’t be published at all. Knowing very well such content would no doubt cause uncalled for problems especially when it touches the elements of race & religion. I see no reason why name callings such as “Jack Ass”, “Bozos” & so on. Even should name callings be said, the BIGGEST JACK ASS should go to none other than this bloke name STEVE OH.

    “WTF???”. This bloke (Steve Oh) is in Australia & it’s obvious to know he is surely somebody WITHOUT any balls. Hiding across the ocean writing about topics of which causes problem is certainly NOT a ethic of any hero but a dumbo instead.

    Race & religion matters should NEVER be politicized & the moment this said letter written by Steve Oh appeared in Malaysiakini means the letter had been used for some political agenda. This goes the same with NURUL IZZAH whom I expected much more maturity & wisdom out of her. Regardless whether did Utusan spin her statements out of context or vice-versa, she shouldn’t have touch on such topics relating to religion in the first place. She should leave such topics to PAS & I’m puzzled why NURUL did that??? Some say she’s trying to be smart, some say she’s trying to capture publicity & some say she’s plainly crapping.

    Well to me…NURUL should just shut-up. After all, “One wouldn’t call another DUMB for keeping quiet but one would certainly call another STUPID for speaking about something which is better left unspoken”.

    What is going on with Malaysia????

    • Kenny – I doubt you read Steve Oh’s letter in the first place and, neither, it appears, have you read the transcript of Nurul’s talk or heard the actual recording of the talk. It’d be nice, indeed civil, if you did and then start making pertinent comments rather than rant incessantly without contributing anything to the discussion.

  2. I went thru maybe up to a third of the letter but thereafter didn’t have the stamina to continue; too long and many diversions and generalisations to include other issues which had nothing to do with religion. I then gave my response/opinions to my old boys’ association’s e-group.

    1 — the letter contains truths and untruths but unless one knows enough about religions, i don’t think it’s wise to attempt to comment, esp when it’s not your religion. best to stay away. malaysian malays are no doubt automatically muslims from birth but as they grow up their parents ensure that they are given adequate basic teachings to help them grow to believe in it. that means when they reach their late teens/adulthood, they become believers but those who occasionally or often also go against what their religion teaches them do not necessarily become non-believers, whether they choose that or not. that is not for people to decide or judge.

    2 — saying that the indonesians are more open and liberal is also incorrect. go through the news and u’ll realise the many incidents of communal/sectarian violence that has claimed many lives, razed hundreds of homes to the ground and displaced thousands of people just this year alone. papua, nusa tenggara, kalimantan, jakarta, and most recently lampung. we have never seen anything close to what happens there. and don’t forget the attacks on the ahmadiyyah. even if the indonesians are more liberal, it does not make their islam correct or better, bcos that liberalism may be against correct islamic teachings.

    3 — while it was generally true that many indonesian muslims did not insist on their spouses to convert, in recent times there has been a shift. i have friends who have had to end their relationships due to different religious beliefs. any indication on non-conversion nowadays becomes news in the media, as was the case with the footballer bachdim when he married a christian girl, whom his family was not sure had converted. they went on tv about this.

    4 — we must also not forget the constitution and what it says about the malay and the muslim. so long as it’s there in its present form, anything that attempts to deny its contents becomes unlawful. as kenny above says, though in different words, why stir the hornet’s nest? what good does it bring? if malaysian muslims think that they need a reorientation, a reeducation, let it be on their own steam.

    5 — the singaporean malay/muslim better than the malaysian malay/muslim? perception but what’s the basis? the author doesn’t articulate.

    cheers mate

    • It is long and full of generalisations, true – and if the police did not make such a big show of it, perhaps hardly anyone would have taken notice. The point is: did Steve Oh commit sedition as the police initially said? No. The police have now switched tactics. Did Steve Oh seek to *deliberately* hurt people’s feelings? Quite clearly and honestly no. Half of Umno, PAS, DAP and PKR should be locked up if you want to talk about hurting some body’s feelings. As Steve Oh himself said, the police can make a story last. That’s what they’re doing, creating a big fuss. That is political and not police work.

    • Aziz (Aziz Hassan the `eminent’ journalist?), tolong le sikit. You are as guilty as the other person you are accusing of. There is so much generalisation in yoiur comment mixing truths and withholding other truths. Anyone should be able to comment on the other’s religion if it affects his/her life and affairs. As a Muslim you are duty bound to enlighten the erring party, is it not? As for Indonesia, what’s new? The so-called `shifts’you alluded to are not new relevations … they have been happening since Islam came to this region. What is new is that new media have enable us to access all sorts of information, including information that the gatekeepers in the mainstream media like you have censored in the past. The fact is that the Dark Age mentality is prevalent in Malaysia and parts of Indonesia, anything outside the main sect will be persecuted as the Catholics have done.
      Please do not use the constitution to justify something that is morally wrong. Slavery would have continued to flourish in the US and Obama would still be in chains if Americans failed to realise that discrimination on the basis of race and religion is wrong. Will the Malays take a smilar path? Opting for the status quo like you advocated is counter productive to the future well being of the country. The hornets’ nest has to be `stirred’ every now and then to wake them up to changing times.

  3. Pingback: Bozos in blue: One jackass, 15 cops, one letter « uppercaise

  4. In Malaysia it is 99.9% as usual the feelings of Muslims that are hurt but not the Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. Are the Muslims hyper sensitive or the Christians, Buddhists, Hindus etc belief in their respective faiths so strong that they are not easily hurt?

  5. In Malaysia it is 99.9% as usual the feelings of Muslims that are hurt but not the Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.
    Dear Loh Siew Ling, our normal Muslim brothers are not hurt or as you suggest low in faith or hyper sensitive,obviously you don’t know our Muslim brothers in Umno???? And as far as I’m concern, Kenny can go Fork himself for all I care.Oouch!!!

  6. If only Malaysians acknowledge the fact that the quarter cooked Malaysian police force are not only lackeys of Umno then their actions will be reluctantly ‘accepted’ until the urgent need for the present regime is kicked out of Putrajaya and the IGP replaced. To do that just make sure to register yourself as a voter for the coming GE and all the repression and suppression will be a thing of the past !

  7. This is the way to fascism . Suppressing and oppressing people and their right to express a reasonable opinion using the states apparatus . There is certainly nothing seditious in steven’s letter and many of us will agree with large portions of the letter . The target of the letter is not any community but the state and its crony in keeping the people of various races suppressed in different ways to keep people from developing a critically thinking mind . There have been far more seditious utterings from politicans eso from the ruling party that insults people of different races which the police do not take action. Now they are even going after mkini for reporting on the quantity surveyor’s predicament . Only fascist countries goes after its own people for expressing their legitimate opinions

  8. Balless Kenny,

    It is people like you that made Malaysia a country that condone corruption and plundering by UMNO and provide UMNO cronies 100% protection by UMNO appointed judiciary. Malaysia will go down further when the fossil fuel resources are being depleted by UMNO politicians while the Rakyat live their lines near poverty. Compare to Singapore, HK, Taiwan & South Korea, countries with limited or zero natural resources, they have become 1st world countries. I tried not to be racist but looking at countries dominated by Malays (Malaysia & Indonesia), a 6 year old school kid would tell you that that the Malay politicians running both countries for the past 50 years (not the opposition parties like DAP, PAS or PKR), cannot teach pigs to be dirty. There are excellent Malays like the Selangor MB, Zaid Ibrahim, Rafizi, Anwar Ibrahim, her daughter Nurul and many many others like the well known poet who are constantly jailed and trampled by UMNO, so I believed Malaysia has a great future if UMNO is defeated and the good Malays would prevail, together with the other races, bring Malaysia to a better level than Singapore. Good example, Iskander would be a white elephant without Singapore participation, the whole world knows that. Why???? because it was being ran by imbeciles like Mahathir Kutty & his cronies that were enriching themselves for the past 50 years. Petronas a USD560 Billion company, is now worth maybe 50B, milked by Mahathir Kutty, Sammy Velu, Vincent Tan, Ananda Krishnan, Bukhary, Mukriz, Mirzan, Kerismuddin, Muhiyideen, Rais & Thamby Chik the rapists, Taib from Sarawak and Musa Aman from Sabah, milked, milked, miked !!!!! The whole world knows what is happening, let G13 be the turning point for Beautiful Malaysia. Kick out the corrupt politicians (Malaysia may need to build 2 more prisons to lock them up for good) and bring in the true & honest administrators like LGE & MB Khalid that will save Malaysia from further destruction.

    UMNO & Special Branch, come & get me, I am living in Houston.

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