KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Six people will be charged tomorrow for defacing the Perak Sultan’s website in a move which is aimed at quelling the avalanche of criticisms against the royalty.
The move is likely to put some fear into Malaysia’s burgeoning Internet community.
The six persons to be prosecuted will be the first people to be charged under Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998.
Under the section it is an offence to make unwise use of network or network services by making comments, demands, suggestions or communication deemed vulgar, false, threatening or disturbing.
The six face a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term of of one year or both.
Immediately after Sultan Azlan Shah denied Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s request to dissolve the Perak legislature in February and instead appointed Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as menteri besar, the ruler’s website came under attack.
Sultan Azlan Shah’s website was “flamed” with personal attacks with all sorts of accusations made against the ruler.
But the attacks against the Sultan was not confined to his website.
In various blogs and websites, he has come under intense criticism from writers and readers alike.
The attacks against Sultan Azlan Shah sparked off controversy with Umno championing the royalty and accusing those who attacked the monarchy of being disloyal.
Even Nizar was accused of treason for refusing to resign as menteri besar and continuing his fight in court to regain his position.
DAP leader Karpal Singh had also come in for criticisms for suggesting that the Sultan could be sued.
But under the guise of anonymity, many Malaysians have resorted to posting strong comments against the royal families.
Umno politicians have also fanned the flames by suggesting that any disrespect against the royal households was akin to questioning Malay rights.