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:
(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.