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Friday, May 27, 2016

Vivian jailed for 'seditious' post on ‘bak kut teh’

KUALA LUMPUR - Blogger Vivian Lee May Ling was jailed for six months on a sedition charge for publishing a ‘bak kut teh’ image during Ramadan three years ago.

Sessions Court judge Abdul Rashid Daud ruled that the prosecution had proven the charge against her beyond reasonable doubt, the test of the burden of proof in criminal cases.

“The accused is found guilty under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act and sentenced to six months in prison from today,” he said. “This is a serious offence as it involves sensitive issues for Islam.”

“Pig is ‘haram’ (illegal). The accused should have thought of public sensitivity before uploading.”

He added that there were “no reasons to cry over spilt milk”.

Judge Rashid allowed a stay of execution pending Lee’s appeal to the High Court. She was freed on RM20,000 bail with two sureties.

In mitigation, Lee’s lawyer Chong Joo Tian pleaded for the court to impose a light sentence on her.

“She had expressed her regret over the posting made, removed it and issued an apology on Facebook and Youtube.”

“Besides, her offence was not a violent one. It was just a ‘offence’ in expression.”

Although the public was “angered” by the posting, noted Chong, no chaos happened after the posting.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, in rebutting Lee’s arguments, alleged that Lee’s offence did “injure” the people.

“Her lawyer said that there was no chaos after the Facebook post,” he said. “In fact, the post had injured the feelings of the people, including of other religions.”

The ‘bak kut teh’ post was done during the fasting month, attached with a halal logo, he pointed out. “Was she and Alvin Tan (co-accused) trying to create a racial riot?”

Wan Shaharuddin told reporters after the proceedings that the prosecution will be filing an appeal against the sentence.

In July 2013, Lee and her former boyfriend Alvin Tan Jye Yee were charged for publishing indecent photographs, promoting enmity among the races and for sedition.

In February last year, the Federal Court struck off the charge against the duo on promoting enmity among the races.

The Sessions Court in March last year ordered the hearing for the two charges against her to be done in the absence of Tan.

Tan skipped bail and fled to the United States.

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