KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9, 2014:Chow Mun Fai or more famously known by his Facebook name “Chow Jack”, was sentenced to a year in prison for posting remarks insulting the Malays on his Facebook account.
Chow, 37, had enraged the public when his Facebook posting insulted Muslims with derogatory remarks about Hari Raya and Ramadhan. The posting was made public and resulted in many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) lodging a police report against him.
Chow who worked as a site supervisor, was said to have committed the offence at 10.30am on June 12, in the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, Sentul Park.
For this, he was charged under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 which carried a prison term of not exceeding five years, or a fine of not more than RM5,000.
As an alternative, he was presented with the option to plead guilty or ask for a hearing to be heard under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998 for posting indecent and obscene postings with the intention to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass others.
Under the representation of lawyer Ahmad Ridza Mohd Noh, Chow pleaded not guilty for sedition but guilty for the indecent postings.
The court room was filled with silence as Chow’s personal details were laid out by Ridza in an attempt to get his client served with the minimum sentence.
“He is the first of three siblings and have stayed unmarried to take care of his parents who are both in their 60s.
“He is also sick as he suffers from tuberculosis (TB) and severe gastric,” said Ridza in his mitigating speech.
Section 223 provides a maximum fine of RM50,000 and a jail term of not more than one year.
The maximum was what the prosecution asked for.
“This is an issue on public policy and interest which demands for severe punishment to be imposed, as it will serve as a lesson to those who may act the same in the future,” said Public Prosecutor Suhaimi Ibrahim.
Judge Azman Mostafa agreed with the prosecution saying that although he believed Chow was sorry for his actions, the court needs to show that no individual can hide behind the internet to spread words that may threaten the nation’s racial harmony.
“For this, I sentence him to the maximum jail term of one year starting today, in accordance with the prosecution’ request,” he said.
Chow will serve his time in the Kajang prison.