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Several individuals are being investigated for sedition over comments over the Malacca state governor Mohd Ali Rustam’s visit to the house where Filipino Olympian Hidilyn Diaz trained during the first lockdown last year.
The trigger for the probe was a single tweet by one Azfarul Naim, otherwise known as @FvgTitan on Twitter, which was merely captioned with three question marks - ‘???’
The tweet showed an Instagram screenshot of a July 28 "Melaka Hari Ini" article on the state governor’s trip to a house in Kampung Kesang Tua, Melaka, where Diaz - who is the first Filipino athlete to clinch a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics - had trained in preparation for the games.
When contacted by Malaysiakini, Azfarul said that he felt the investigation on the tweet was ridiculous.
“I didn't do anything wrong. I was just sharing the news from an official page,” said Azfarul.
He asserted that he did not intend to insinuate anything when he made the ambiguous tweet.
Lawyer Azri Abdullah, who was told about the case through a self-initiated group of lawyers offering pro bono services in Malacca, is assisting Azfarul in the police investigation against him.
“I think it's clear intimidation. I do understand that the police had to act based on the report lodged.
“Apart from Azfarul, I recall another person was hauled up from home at 3am just because he tweeted an opinion and questioned the state governor's status,” he told Malaysiakini.
“He's not from Malacca so he was confused why there were so many bodyguards accompanying the state governor. He was just recalling an event years back where the state governor used to visit his village in Kedah,” added Azri.
He noted that although some of the tweets used foul language, the remarks did not warrant for an investigation for sedition.
In one instance, a user had quoted Azfarul’s tweet, berating the state governor for visiting the makeshift training grounds given how the gold medal did not go to Malaysia in the Olympics.
The investigation is said to be carried out under the Sedition Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act with Azfarul being the eighth person to be called up for the investigation.
It remains unclear whether more individuals will be called up for tweets made in relation to the "???" tweet.
Thus far, two individuals are said to have been told to be present at a court hearing on Aug 17.
This probe follows other social media-related police investigations this week with the most recent being an investigation on comments made on a Facebook post by an Umno leader in Sungai Petani about the number of deaths in the Kuala Muda district.
Malaysiakini has attempted to contact the Melaka Tengah police and has yet to receive their comment on the matter.