PETALING JAYA: The authorities have overreacted on the incident in which a student “liked” the ‘I Love Israel’ Facebook page, violating the basic rights of a student, said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam).
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said it was unfortunate that teachers had failed to handle the matter responsibly as educators and the reported sedition probe was an overreaction by the police.
“This is contrary to the spirit and articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Malaysia is a State Party,” said Hasmy in a statement yesterday.
The 17-year-old Hindu teen’s Facebook post had been screen-captured by his teacher and reposted on the teacher’s Facebook page with cynical remarks. The student then received threats from other teachers and schoolmates for his action. He eventually filed a police report.
Hasmy also pointed out that this situation shows the restriction in freedom of expression the Sedition Act could impose on.
“This matter could have been resolved through other approaches without having to invoke the Sedition Act or to expose the student to criticism and threats,” he said.
Hasmy called upon the relevant authorities to weigh their actions accordingly and to act discreetly in matters that concern social media.
Suhakam also encouraged the Education Ministry to incorporate human rights as part of the school curriculum to better promote respect, understanding and acceptance of the basic rights of all citizens, including those of students.