Angry netizens just got someone arrested and fired for ‘insulting’ Malaysia’s former King – and two more people could face the same fate

Police said they arrested two men and a woman – the owners of two Twitter accounts and a Facebook account – after receiving reports about “insulting comments” made against Sultan Muhammad V.
Facebook/KDYMM Sultan Muhammad V

Be careful what you say online.

In response to reports from angry netizens, three people who made “insulting comments” on social media about the resignation of Malaysia’s former King Sultan Muhammad V have been arrested, with one already publicly fired from his job.

The other two have been suspended from work, with their employers issuing public statements on Facebook.

Police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said that police had arrested two men and a woman – the owners of two Twitter accounts and a Facebook account – on Tuesday (Jan 8), after receiving several police reports about “insulting comments” made against Sultan Muhammad V, Bernama reported.

The men are aged 46 and 27, and the woman, 26, Fuzi said.

It is believed that the Facebook account belongs to Eric Liew, while the Twitter accounts belong to Azham Akhtar and Alia Astaman. The accounts have since been deleted, but screenshots of the comments in question are still circulating online.

Liew, who worked for Cisco Malaysia, left the company after angry netizens flooded his former employer’s Facebook and Twitter pages with screenshots of a comment he wrote on Jan 6 about the former King’s abdication.

Liew quickly published an apology, but two days later, Cisco said in a Facebook post that the employee who had had “issued an apology” for his remark was “no longer with the company”.

Similar to Liew’s case, netizens bombarded the social media sites of utility provider Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) and consultancy firm Pemandu Associates with angry messages and screenshots of a public Twitter exchange between Azham and Alia, which contained an insult toward the former King.

Both companies have suspended the employees who supposedly posted the tweets, and are investigating the incidents.

Pemandu Associates said it was conducting an internal inquiry, while TNB said it “prioritised values and integrity” and that “investigations were in progress”.

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