Updated: 08/14/2014 15:34 | By Agence France-Presse

Malaysia teen's Facebook 'like' prompts sedition probe

A Malaysian teenager is being investigated by police for sedition after "liking" a pro-Israel Facebook posting, sparking outrage over perceived growing intolerance in the Muslim-majority country.


Malaysia teen's Facebook 'like' prompts sedition probe

File photo shows the splash page for internet social media giant Facebook - by Karen Bleier

The 17-year-old student in the northern state of Penang had "liked" a post that declared "I love Israel" and featured a picture of the Jewish state's flag, Penang police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi was quoted as saying Wednesday by Malaysian media.

Abdul Rahim reportedly said a sedition probe was under way and that the student claimed to have accidentally clicked "like". Police also are investigating death threats against the student.

Sedition can result in three years in jail in Malaysia. The student, who has been questioned by police, has deactivated his Facebook account. He has not been publicly identified.

Malaysia has no diplomatic relations with Israel. The Jewish state's policies toward the Palestinians are fiercely criticised by Malaysian Muslims, sentiments that have been inflamed by the ongoing deadly conflict in Gaza.

The episode is the latest in a series of incidents to stoke public fears in multi-ethnic, multi-faith Malaysia of mounting intolerance under the decades-old regime dominated by majority Muslim Malays.

In the most high-profile example, minority Malaysian Christians are under pressure from the government and Muslim groups to cease using the Arabic word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God in the Malay language, which Christians say they have done for centuries.

Muslims assert "Allah" is a sacred word for Islam only.

Communication Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek also triggered harsh online criticism recently when he said authorities would "study" whether to block Facebook after a posting appeared that was deemed insulting to Malaysia's Islamic royalty.

Osman Hussain, Penang's state director of education, told AFP on Thursday he would seek to resolve the incident without police involvement.

"He is just a student. I will try to solve the issue peacefully," he said.

The affair has triggered harsh criticism online.

"Using the same twisted logic, all Malaysians using Facebook are also committing sedition as Facebook is founded by a Jew," said one reader posting on popular online news portal Malaysiakini, denouncing such "extremism". 

Latest Photo Galleries on xinmsn

NEWS VIDEOS

MORE NEWS VIDEOS

facebook recommendations

LIVE NEWS RADIO STREAMING

  • 938 Live

    938LIVE is Singapore's only English news and talk station which transmits round the clock with an engaging and enticing spread of programmes on current affairs, health, business and lifestyle as well as news every half hour until midnight.

  • Capital 958


    95.8FM城市频道的前身是"第三广播网"。上个世纪30年代末,新加坡就有中文广播,一路走来经过不少政治,社会局势的改变,中文广播在本地一直扮演举足轻重的角色。