Activist arrested over Melaka governor tweet released, vows to fight “corrupt system”

ACTIVIST Jay Jay Denis, who was arrested last night (Oct 9) over a tweet of his that was seen as critical of Melaka Governor Tun Mohd Ali Rustam, has been released from police custody.

Jay, who is also a special officer to Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Amirudin Shari, announced this in a Facebook post in the wee hours of today morning.

“My phone and SIM card (have) been confiscated so I’m sorry for not being able to reply (to) all your messages of support in solidarity. It is likely I won’t get it back for some time,” he said.

He thanked his legal team as well, led by Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, for coming to his aide all the way to the Alor Gajah district police headquarters, where he was brought from Kuala Lumpur, buying him food and bringing him home.

“Thank you to those who bugged the police to release me today (Oct 9) as they originally planned to keep (me) in the lockup till tomorrow (Oct 10) at least,” he added. “You know who you are.”

Last night, Jay said three police officers from the Alor Gajah district police headquarters in Melaka arrived at his house to detain him after a police report was lodged against him.

This was in connection with a tweet he made on Sept 6, in which he said he saw a convoy with police outriders and escort vehicles blocking traffic on the Sprint Highway to perform a U-turn:

“Thought there was an important national-interest event,” Jay said. “But no. This video was taken after Ali finished having dinner with his children and grandchildren at Sri Ayutthaya restaurant.

“(He) could even wave to those who are here. Maybe this is the #KeluargaMalaysia that has been talked about.”

Jay is being investigated under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for making a statement conducing to public mischief and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities or services.

“A non-issue”

In his statement today, Jay said what he was being investigated for was a “non-issue” as it was for “something silly”.

“The police took my statement and then proceeded with an intelligence report under Bukit Aman’s D4 unit,” he explained. “They wanted to know everything, from the moment I was born. Made me remember many things actually.

“But I was told repeatedly the police had no choice but to do this as the orders came from Melaka’s most powerful folks whose hearts were broken about something I tweeted about His Highness the Melaka governor,” he claimed.

Even so, Jay said his arrest has renewed his energy to “fight this corrupt system and that corrupt party UMNO” with all he has. Ali is also a former UMNO leader.

“And with elections looming, we know what we have to do at the very least. And that is to go out on polling day to speak through the pen so our voices are heard when the election bell is rung,” he added.

Meanwhile, civil society organisation the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) condemned Jay’s arrest, saying all state governors must accept that they are subject to scrutiny by members of the public as they are ultimately public servants whose maintenance is sustained with taxpayers’ money.

“Taking their power for granted and attempting to silence legitimate criticism will only undermine the legitimacy of the state-level highest public office and even parliamentary democracy,” its steering committee added in a statement.

Bersih 2.0 further said they were alarmed that such a “benign” tweet would invite disproportionate retaliation, noting that three officers showed up to arrest a citizen (who is incidentally a former member of its steering committee) for speaking up against a public official.

The group said they stand in solidarity with Jay on both his freedom of expression enshrined in Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution and his legitimate criticism of Ali’s conduct, and called on the authorities to cease such “threats and intimidations”, especially in the run-up to the 15th General Elections (GE15). – Oct 10, 2022


Main photo credit: Jay Jay Denis

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