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Monday, August 01, 2011

Making offence in Twitterjaya

There is an obvious lack of misunderstanding about the so called freedom of speech in cyberspace. Too many people think that they are free to say anything about everything in any way they like in cyberspace.

This misconception is further compounded by some of our Ministers’ statements that “special laws or rules” will be made to govern publications in cyberspace. Those kind of statements give the impression that the cyberspace is not governed by our “normal” laws and that whatever is published in cyberspace is not subject to such laws. Hence the necessity for “special laws or rules” to govern publications in cyberspace.

That is one of the most biggest misconceptions in this new millennium.

In so far as Malaysia is concerned, the only laws which do not govern the cyberspace is the necessity for licenses or permits before a publication is made. Apart from that, I can’t think of any laws which do not apply to the cyberspace, especially when it comes to publications of materials, be it in audio, video or written form.

If somebody publishes an article in cyberspace about another person’s character which is not true and that publication adversely affects the person’s  character or credibility, the law of defamation applies just as it does if such publication was made in a magazine or newspaper. It is as simple as that. For those who would like further reference on this, just go and read Dow Jones & Co Inc v Gutnick [2002] HCA 56 (Australian High Court).

The mere fact that our government has issued the Bill of Guarantee does not in any way mean that we can do whatever we like in cyberspace. All publications in cyberspace are still subject to the laws. Pure and simple.

The only thing about the cyberspace is anonymity. That makes it a bit more difficult for the prosecution to prove that the maker of the offending publication is the accused person. How does the prosecution prove that the accused person was the actual person who published the offending publication?

The second thing which poses a difficult issue in any prosecution for offending publications in cyberspace is jurisdiction. The Gutnick’s case above demonstrates that.

In short, I am writing this in Kuala Lumpur. This article is stored in digital form in a server somewhere in the world. I must confess I do not know where the server is. It could be in Timbuktu for all I know.

As and when you hit on this blog from your computer in say Ipoh, this blog will appear on your monitor. You will then read what I have written in Ipoh.

Let’s just say I am sued in Kuala Lumpur for defamation for my article. The question is whether the Courts in Kuala Lumpur would have the jurisdiction to try my case. That would depend where the publication was made.

Questions regarding jurisdiction is imperative because a Court can only try a case which is within it’s territorial jurisdiction.

In a normal hard copy publication, it is easy to determine jurisdiction. Publication is deemed to have happened at the place the hard copy of the offending article is read. But in a publication on the internet, the article s stored somewhere in the cyberworld. When somebody access the article by clicking on its url, only then the article would appear on the monitor of that somebody. Being so, can it be said that the writer had “published” the article when in actual fact it was the reader who had “accessed” the writer’s article? All these are vex legal and factual questions.

In the week preceding the Bersih rally, a certain lady published a twitter post. That twitter post can be read here.

Considering the circumstances prevailing at the time of the publication of that twitter post, my immediate reaction upon reading that post was one of absolute wonderment at her IQ level. How stupid was that?

Now it is alleged that she is actually a video journalist for Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng. She is actually under the employment of the state government!

We have read of how an over-enthusiastic officer of the Prime Minister had asked that crucifixes be removed from a church during the PM’s visit to a Church earlier this year. We have also heard of many closed-door seminars where some civil servants made some really nonsensical racist remarks about non-Malays.

The condemnations and ridicules which came in from all sides against such acts were swift, intense and hard-hitting.

Can we all imagine what kind of condemnation against the BN government would be had the above twitter post been posted by a federal civil servant?

I think that particular twitter post was uncalled for, most particularly considering the circumstances under which it was made, namely, during the week preceding the Bersih rally. If I were to be nasty, I would say that twitter post carried with it an insidious intention.

Above all, I find that twitter post really, for the lack of a better word, stupid.

I don’t know whether the state government or Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng should apologise. But if I were him, I would be close to sacking her, frankly speaking.

As the story goes, of course, in the normal scheme of thing in Malaysia nowadays, a certain very concerned citizen, Mr Tony Yew lodged a police report against her. Now she is under investigation.

Malaysiakini reports that the police had gone to her house, checked some files and confiscated an iMac computer including a modem and took some snapshots of her twitter account.

Hahahahhahaha…first of all, this is a classic operation by our men in blue. What are they investigating? Apparently an offence under the Sedition Act arising from her twitter post. Why the need to confiscate her computer and modem? What would the computer and modem show? How are those gadgets going to assist them in the investigation? Why didn’t they confiscate the mouse as well? And what about the keyboard?

As for the snapshots of her twitter account, haven’t our police heard of screen save or printing the screen?

Oh, Mr Tony Yew. I remember him.

I am not a follower of his twitter account. Nor was he a follower of mine.

One day I was told by one of my follower that a certain Tony Yew had been criticising one of my article without tagging me. I could not care less. Everybody criticises my articles anyway.

During the week preceding the Bersih rally, I was, on some days, engaged in a rather engaging and civil discourse about the rally with YB Dato’ Abdul Rahman Dahlan. I was telling the YB – not to say that he needed any telling, though – about the right of the people to assemble and the duties of the police to maintain an orderly and safe assembly. The good YB was saying that the assembly would be harmful to public order.

We were engaging each other in a very civil manner and that was not the first time we did so. YB Rahman Dahlan is one of the few BN MPs with whom I find pleasure to engage on several issues on twitter.

In the middle of our friendly debate,  suddenly one Tony Yew chipped in with a twitter post addressed to me and the YB. That post says something to the following effect;

Why don’t you stick to what you do best? Reality and theory not the same.”

My first reaction was “wtf”? Who the flinking shyte is this guy? Stick to what I do best? Why don’t I stick it up yours, I was thinking.

And so I replied:

Tony Yew or whatever your name, why don’t YOU stick to what you do best and don’t come and disturb me and my timeline?”

He never came back to disturb me again after that.

You see, apart from the usual laws and rules being applicable to the cyberworld, the usual unwritten laws about good manners and civility also apply while we are in cyberspace. So, if nobody, in real life, should barge in another person’s bedroom – what more, when they do not know each other – nobody should barge in another person’s space in cyberworld without the normal courtesy.

Just in case anybody doesn’t know that.


Egghead said...

I think if you read mkini, you would see that her tweets account is private only :)

flygoon said...

The question will be if She has protected her tweets where only those she approved of could see the tweet and will not be available on the public domain of twitter, would her tweet still constitute as being published?

Furthermore, given that the tweet was made at her personal time at her home before she went to bed, not in a state sponsored closed door seminar where people were gathered for a purpose, the filing of police report is not just over-reacted but constituted an invasion of her privacy.

Anonymous said...


Some people just like to be a busybody and butting in onto others tweets. These busybodies do it because they seek attention. Chances are they have an inferiority complex and are insecure. That certain Yew fella you mentioned typically fits the above description.

Anonymous said...


This lady called Lilian Chan got exactly what she deserves this time round.

She is an arrogant foul-mouthed blogger whose job is only to "carry" Lim Guan Eng. Under attack, she now hide behind her so-called piety in Catholicism.


donplaypuks said...

My question Art is that you require the owner's permit to follow one's tweets. So, rules of privacy apply.

In effect, the tweet betwen Tony Yew and Lillian was not meant for general public consumption.

Can TY then make a police report that has any validity in a court of law? Especially since TY was not goaded into seditious acts. In fact it had quiet the opposite effect to which he now claims the general M'sian public would have been subject to?

we are all of 1 Race, the Human Race

Can then

Anonymous said...

I dont really see how her intention really went to the extent.

It sounds more like "lepas geram" type to friends.

I think in the "hypocrite land", if the statement was uttered in harsher tone by others, nothing of this sorts will happen to her.

Anyway, this is just my observation

English Ticks ..... said...

I agree with most of the comments here, namely her tweets account is private and what she said is kacang compared to one Ibrahim Ali!

rahsia said...

Art, would you be deemed to defame her by saying the tweet is stupid thus implying she is stupid?

Anonymous said...

True, one must be responsible for what one says or writes.

But there is also this point about "privacy" and trust". Can I say or write something to a small group of friends in confidence in Malaysia?

If the answer is no, then Malaysia has further regresses into pre-historic age. Neighbours will spy on each other and the police will pounce on people who doesn't toe the line. Society will crumble into a dog-eat-dog world.

Malaysia cannot let this type of behaviour take root in society. Otherwise, we will be no different from the days of the Cultural Revolution in China ... heck, the same people who are big on anti-communist rhetorics are practising communism BIG time.

In this case, we have one in this woman's small group of "friends" go to the police. Is he doing his civic duty to report a potential crime or is he just taking advantage of the situation for his own personal benefits?

We all know very well what is the answer.

This is a lesson for all bloggers, twitterers and facebookers. Check whether that offensive person is on their 'friends' list. He may have invited himself to the list without people knowing, just like a one-cell parasite latching on to its host. As a matter of fact, do not even go near this axxxhole, if you recognise him or his name. Every sound you utter in front of him may get you charged for sedition.

Maybe there should be an all-point-bulletin issued on this person. "Stay clear. This person is RABID".

Bogey said...

here's a message to Tony "Asswipe" Yew: Stick to what you do best ie; stick it up where the sun don't shine"

Leithaisor said...

Tony Yew and I have never crossed paths as far as I know. Not on the Net, not in real life. For that, I am thankful.

Age is catching up with me, and if nothing else, has brought with its bitter experiences some valuable lessons.

In particular, there are people of all sorts in the world, ranging from gems to absolutely certified 101% not-even-fit-for-the-cesspool dung.

Of course, which category a particular person falls into depends a whole lot on who is doing the evaluation, and each of us as the right to decide what our own values are. Paraphrasing a popular saying, one man's gem is another's dung.

Also true is the all too often case of rotten contents with shiny covers, and what I have told my son many a time - don't expect advertisments to be Gospel truth. Mega-bucks ads are there to convince buyers to buy; telling the truth is not necessarily part of the brief. Indeed, it may be the opposite instead.

And all too often the propensity for some gems to turn into dung thanks to some juicy incentives. With apologies to Rod Stewart, the deepest cut is from betrayal by those you had placed your trust on.

Such is life, and it would be for each of us to decide what we each stand for.

So with the benefit of the hard-knocks, I learnt not to waste time and energy as far as possible with some folks. And I'd appreciate it if the feelings are reciprocated in identical manner.

Lilian Chan, by the way, is also someone whom I hope not ever to have the pleasure of meeting anywhere anytime in my lifetime. I think we'll both be happier that way.

Cruzeiro said...

What are you smoking, ART!
Whatever it is- it surely has fuddled your mind!
I don't see how her tweet was "stupid" ....

It isn't any more "stupid" than you poking fun at Jibby's 1-Malaysia or flip-flops or hare-brained schemes .... or Anas Zubedy telling LGE to use Peribahasa, or me asking for a change in Govt.

She said that it was her opinion that the people's "christian duty" to seek a clean election system. What is so wrong about that?
That's "mixing religion with politics"? That's a crime"
If that's the case- every body should be in jail lah!!

The way I look at it, any one who's interested in justice should do the same- hence it is also an "Islamic duty", "Buddhist duty", "Hindu duty" etc etc
It isn't any more "seditious" than a man asking you to walk as your "citizen's duty".

A sentence means only what the writers intends it to mean- nothing more. It is not for the reader to interpret it as what he deems fit.

Eric Mudasi said...

Helen Ang lent clarity to the alarming & astonishing response to this tweet from the administration..."as recently as a week ago, Prime Minister Najib Razak in an address to some 200 BN supporters made this riposte: “We wish to tell our friends, the Malaysian Christians . . . if they respect us, we will also respect them.” He’d fired the salvo on July 22 upon his return from a visit to the Vatican and audience with the Pope."


This is very disturbing as the DAP seems to be catering to its powerful affluent Evangelical Chinese Christian lobby not unlike the "Tea Party" nut bars in the Republican Party.

Lilian Chan is working in the CHief Minister’s Office…and by virtue of that, is his mouth peace.

The exco of Democratic Action Party is being overrun from within by born again FANATICAL a-holes who harbour delusions of grandeur, inspired or captivated by sermons that over-emphasize this grand delusion that Roman soldiers some 2000 years ago nailed *** to a scaffolding and [he] somehow died for “THEIR” failings.

This is what Raja Petra would call a belief system not FACT.

You are first and foremost a political party. Your actions are meant to serve the rakyat based on FACTS.


Malaysia ia a plural society remember that we love breaking coconuts during Thaipusam. Carrying Kavadi, not so much. Dare you to rescind Chinese Ang Pow packets …love the breaking fast feasts during Ramadhan. Not sure what Buddhists do during Wesak..eat oranges and sticky cake ??? !!
I hope All souls day in Malaysia evolves to the South American kind where we all dress ghoulish like zombies… I wish we had Halloween on a major scale.

From Singapore:

Pastor Rony Tan, of the Lighthouse Evangelism megachurch, apologized and pulled the video clips off the internet after being visited by the government’s Internal Security Department (ISD) on Monday, the pastor and the government said on their websites. “I sincerely apologize for my insensitivity towards the Buddhists and Taoists, and solemnly promise that it will never happen again,” Tan said.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday that “Pastor Tan’s comments were highly inappropriate and unacceptable as they trivialised and insulted the beliefs of Buddhists and Taoists. They can also give rise to tension and conflict between the Buddhist/Taoist and Christian communities. ISD told Pastor Tan that in preaching or proselytising his faith, he must not run down other religions, and must be mindful of the sensitivities of other religions.”

The MRHA (Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act) came into being against a backdrop of rising religiosity, not just in Singapore but worldwide. Mr Lee Kuan Yew said in a speech to a Buddhist gathering in December 1988, a year before the MRHA was tabled in Parliament: ‘The present phase in Singapore tends more towards intensely held beliefs than towards tolerant co-existence. At a time when Islam is resurgent and thrusting, Christians, especially Charismatics, are in a dynamic, evangelical phase. This has sometimes led to friction, and requires sensitive handling.’

Always remember “bible thumping” is ALWAYS a malignant Cancer that has ugly influences that originate from Conservative Bible Belt of heartland USA. Its is very DANGEROUS !!. Remember David Koresh; Timothy McVeigh; and now Anders Behring Breiv.

HEY DUM-ASS…. I am talking to you (DAP) … WHY give UMNO ammo: Utusan has been reduced to wrapping kacang putih & fish …

Eric Mudasi said...

Everybody and his dog understands UMNO's divide & rule playbook & PAS commitment to invoke ISLAM where pertinent ...

it is this Evangelical A-holes in the DAP that may cause "the wheels to fall off the wagon" as Malaysia "journeys into the New Frontier".

AT A rally in Nairobi’s Uhuru Park on a Sunday afternoon last month, Bishop Margaret Wanjiru, parliamentarian, assistant minister for housing and one of the country’s foremost Pentecostal preachers, was passing around a paper bag for contributions from the crowd. Some tens of thousands of Kenyans had gathered to campaign against a proposed new constitution, which Ms Wanjiru and other preachers urged them to reject in a referendum to be held on August 4th. Two provisions, one allowing for Muslim courts to settle marriage and land disputes, the other to allow abortion where the life of the mother is in danger, were a direct threat to Christianity, they said. On the stage, people were being slain by the spirit; sometimes just a fingertip was enough to throw believers back across the boards.
Then someone tossed two grenades into the crowd, killing six people and wounding many others. Almost immediately, there were accusations that government security agents had attacked the rally. That is evidence, for some, that the government is rattled by the vibrant opposition of the “new churches”, mainly Pentecostal, to a new constitution that most members of the government support. Whatever the truth, there is no doubt that, as elsewhere, Kenya’s politicians have underestimated the drawing power of a fresh generation of Protestant churches, most of which were set up in the 1980s

India & US:
Around the time that Bush Jr moved into the Oval office, a worldwide conversion movement, funded and effected by American evangelical groups, was peaking in India. The movement, which began as AD2000 & Beyond and later morphed into Joshua Project I and Joshua Project II, was designed to be a sledgehammer-a breathtaking, decade-long steamroller of a campaign that would set the stage for a systematic, sophisticated and self-sustaining “harvest” of the “unreached people groups” in India in the 21st century. It was just as the operation was taking off that the script changed. Much to the delight of American evangelicals, one of their own, George Bush Jr, became the occupant of the White House.

Eric Mudasi said...

How powerful is the Evangelical lobby in the US ....
the C Street House, known as The Family, or the Fellowship... is exerting its political & monetary influence on Ugandan politicians . At stake is the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill or the “kill-the-gays” bill or GENOCIDE


Eric Mudasi said...

Speaking of tweets:

MANILA, Philippines — Former president Joseph Ejercito Estrada on Monday chided a Malaysian diplomat’s wife over her message on microblogging site Twitter calling Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal an “infidel Malay.”
Estrada said that Dato Zainab, wife of Malaysian ambassador to Manila Dr. Ibrahim Saad, insulted Rizal and sowed religious hatred as she lashed out at Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, an ally of the ousted Philippine leader.
“It appears that in her desire to insult Anwar, she also effectively insulted our national hero Jose Rizal and the Filipino people who regard him with reverence,” Estrada said in a statement posted on his website.
Dato Zainab, in her tweet originally written in Bahasa on July 16, said: “Anwar Ibrahim is clearly pro-Christian, an admirer of Jose Rizal the infidel Malay! Oh yes, don’t forget…”



Chan Lilian the cyber criminal fm Twitterjaya said...

Hmmm..I wonder who is stupidier? The one who writes a 140 characters or the one who spent a whole blogpost trying to make sense of a stupid 140 characters? And frankly, if I have to curb my thoughts over a job, I would drop the job. Otherwise, everyone will be zombies. Now I shall go back to my Plants vs Zombies.

Leithaisor said...

And that's a massive "QED" !

Anonymous said...

just a (after)thought... can TY be charge as an 'accessory' to publish 'seditious statement' by others?

art harun said...

Dear Ms Chan,

You unequivocally said that you would drop a job if you had to curb your thoughts over a job. That's how much you value your thoughts.

Well, I wrote a whole blogpost to analise your thought on twitter and you said it is stupid for me to do so. Can you see the irony?

I think Plant vs Zombies have somewhat dulled your intelligent.

I have never advocated the curbing of anybody's thoughts. We all think all the time. But not all thoughts are suitable for publication in a public domain. Sometime I think a certain individual deserves to be shot. Do I put that thought in public domain?

Your assertion that it was a private account belies that fact of how twitter work. I am not here to tell you how it works but suffice if I say once you express yor thought on twitter, that thought ceases to be private.

Expression of thoughts comes with a responsibility.

Having said so, I do not for a moment think your statement is seditious. I am sure you have legal advice on this already.


I am Muslim and I am fasting. I a lodging a police report against you for suggesting that I smoke during fasting month. Expect the police to confiscate your monitor, keyboard, modem and mouse soon. :)

knight said...

Dear Art Harun

I don't know what you call this...


Persecution or just doing their job?

Are you serious about lodging a police report against cruizero? I don't agree with you if you insist to do so.

art harun said...

Dear Knight,

That's sad isn't it? I do't think the Christians are persecuted. Rather I think it is the Muslim like me who are under siege.

Btw, don;t worry about Cruzeiro. He's a good friend of mine. :)

knight said...

Dear Art Harun

So sorry to hear that. You are under seige because of some idiots' actions in terrorizing others.

I really hope that all of us one day will have the liberty to mingle and chill with another in each others' places of worship without being harassed or policed.

such a relief to know that you are not kenaing cruzeiro. i was so worried....:)

Anonymous said...


I like reading your articles. I am 100% sure if there are more Muslims/Malays like you here Malaysia would have been a much much better country.

I am usually about 100% on your side, but this one with Lilian Chan? I don't quite get you lah. Here is one thing:

You said about Tony Yew and I quote: "You see, apart from the usual laws and rules being applicable to the cyberworld, the usual unwritten laws about good manners and civility also apply while we are in cyberspace. So, if nobody, in real life, should barge in another person’s bedroom – what more, when they do not know each other – nobody should barge in another person’s space in cyberworld without the normal courtesy."

And then you told Lilian, "Your assertion that it was a private account belies that fact of how twitter work. I am not here to tell you how it works but suffice if I say once you express yor thought on twitter, that thought ceases to be private."

Aren't you contradicting yourself?

Finally, we are all human beings lah, Art. We contradict ourselves, we make mistakes, we apply one rule for ourselves and another for others. You are no different.

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I think in the "hypocrite land", if the statement was uttered in harsher tone by others, nothing of this sorts will happen to her

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