Go to jail for posting offensive annoying comments online

On Thursday, 26 August 2010, the Shah Alam High Court dismissed a challenge by Nor Hisham Osman on the constitutionality of the charge against him under section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988. The impact of this decision is very wide: any “offensive” communication online made with intent to annoy another person can now be criminalised.

The Shah Alam High Court on Thursday, 26th August 2010 dismissed a challenge by land surveyor Nor Hisham Osman on the constitutionality of the charge against him under section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988.

Nor Hisham had allegedly posted an offensive comment at the Sultan of Perak’s official website through the Sultan’s Dreambook visitor page.

He was charged with making an “offensive” comment “with intent to annoy” another, pursuant to section 233.

He challenged the constitutionality of the charge, but the learned Judicial Commissioner dismissed the challenge saying the section was constitutional.

Her grounds of decision were read out in open court on Thursday afternoon and can be read in full here: Nor Hisham Alasan Penghakiman.

The impact of this decision is very wide: any “offensive” communication online made with intent to annoy another person can now be criminalised.

A person making such a communication is liable to a RM50,000 fine or 1 year in prison or both, and with an additional RM1,000 fine for each day the comment stays online after conviction.

LB: Shanmuga (@shanmuga_k on Twitter) is one of several co-counsel with other LoyarBurokkers, Amer Hamzah, Fahri Azzat, Nizam Bashir, Aston Paiva and Lionel Koe, who acted for Nor Hisham.


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Shanmuga K sometimes sees a purple banana emerging in his sub-conscious. An article seems to then be magically written. He is @shanmuga_k on Twitter. When he does not see those purple bananas, he practices as a lawyer at www.kanesalingam.com

Posted on 27 August 2010. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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15 Responses to Go to jail for posting offensive annoying comments online

  1. I think this law is very important.Thank you for sharing information about this law.

  2. gondrong

    Malaysia is a funny country…can but cannot…make people like me confused.

  3. Pingback: Hassan Skodeng vs. big bearish oafs too stupid to get the joke « jelas.info

  4. amethyst213

    oh i annoy the hell out of myself…will i get charged too?

  5. I find the 1Malaysia paid add in FB annoying.

  6. Andrew Yong

    Shanmuga: Thank you, I am pleased to have been wrong in this case. It would seem strange that the law criminalises speech sent online that would not be illegal if sent in the post or said in person.

  7. Andrew Yong: The word "reasonable" has now been read into the Article 10(2) restrictions by the Federal Court in several judgments, the leading one of which is the decision cited in this judgment of Sivarasa Rasiah v Badan Peguam Malaysia, applying several prior Federal Court and a Court of Appeal decision.

  8. kasiway

    I find amway2u advertisement annoying when i go to read blogs. where can i file a case?

  9. billie

    can the learned judge define annoy?

    If two different person with different level of understanding, where one take it a joke another is annoyed, is this an offense? Will sitcoms be covered under this act too if stream online?

  10. Andrew Yong

    The section may be unreasonably wide, but it is hard to say that it does not fall within the 'public order and morality' power, especially given Art 4(2)(b). Article 10 is effectively a dead letter since the word 'reasonable' was deleted from the Reid Commission draft. It would take a more senior and braver judge to read the word 'reasonable' back into Article 10.

    Other than that, my only comment is that the judge should probably have analysed s233 against the Constitution rather than the actual act the accused is said to have committed.

  11. LoyarBaru

    Even if you display annoying advertisments like MLM and annoying name calling,annoying WEB designS and anything annoying to YOU THEN you're liable?

  12. Loyar Bagus

    Hey, this is not all bad news. At least now we have legal grounds to get rid of TOKZ, Jerry Chin and his various other sockpuppets.

  13. munirah

    this is sooooooooo not ideal :(( i can't breathe. kesian nor hisham. what can we do to help him?

    Malays in the 15th or 16th century enjoyed more liberty than we currently do.

  14. Dear Lord Bobo,

    Until free speech is properly recognized, could you do me a favour and take a look at this below link, and post a warning to any discussions if they are breaking any laws?

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=31851551532

    Thanks.

  15. charleskiwi

    They should even consider getting me charged for the many true remarks I made

    about shenanigan Mahathir especially about his corruptions if no one else dares !

    I am sure I would have been ISAed by him and sent to Taiping prison if he was still

    the P.M.. But still with his influence I am still subject to be ISAed and spend time in

    Taiping prison but until then I will keep posting about his corruption ! Come get me

    if you can.