PETALING JAYA: The two environmental activists arrested for allegedly insulting the Sultan of Johor in a Facebook post have been remanded for three days, their lawyer Siti Kasim said.
Speaking to FMT, Siti questioned the need for keeping the duo – Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) president Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil and the organisation’s administrator Norhayati Shahrom – in police custody in the first place.
This is because both women had agreed to cooperate with police investigating them under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act (MCMC Act).
“Why do you have to arrest them when they were already waiting to give their statement to you, and assist in your probe?
“We are talking about people’s liberty here. Who is going to compensate for the time they are stuck in there (police lockup) when they didn’t have to, because they were willing to cooperate?”
She then told FMT of several incidences during the remand proceeding at the Johor Baru Court this morning, which she said showed the incompetence of the police.
These included the investigating officer’s mix up in the charges filed against Sabrina and Norhayati.
“In court, they surprised us by asking for a remand order for trespassing a land belonging to the Sultan, instead of the improper use of network facilities under the MCMC Act.
“Then, when I met with the officers at the police station later, they told me their officer in court today made a mistake. They said the duo are still being investigated under the MCMC Act.
“But the difference between the two offences are huge. So now we are dealing with an incompetent magistrate, and an incompetent police force,” she claimed.
Siti also alleged that the police had stopped her from meeting her clients to explain the magistrate’s verdict, and instead shouted at her saying: “No, they are under my custody now.”
“I believe he was angry at me for making him look stupid in court,” she said, adding that the officer failed to prove in court that they had at least taken some initiative to question both Sabrina and Norhayati in the one day they had the duo in their custody.
“When you want to apply for a remand order, you have to show that you have done some work.
“So I asked if he had taken their statements, or their photographs, or even their fingerprints. But they had done none of that.”
Siti will lodge a police report soon, to complain of the said police officer’s refusal to allow her the right to meet her clients.
Sabrina and Norhayati were arrested by Johor police yesterday evening, believed to be over a Facebook posting highlighting environmental issues in the state.
According to Johor police chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd, the duo had insulted Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar through the said post. -FMT