PETALING JAYA: The arrest of controversial rapper Namewee (pic) is another sign of repression in Malaysia against artistes, said Amnesty International deputy director Josef Roy Benedict.
“Amnesty International calls for Namewee to be released immediately and unconditionally if he is being detained purely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. This right is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed in Article 10 of Malaysia’s Constitution,” said Benedict.
He added that under international law and standards, the right to freedom of expression is not limited to views that are widely acceptable and popular.
“States must also respect and protect the expression of dissenting views, including those that some may find shocking or offensive. Protection of religious or other beliefs, or the religious sensibilities of their adherents, is not a permissible ground for restricting freedom of expression,” said Benedict, who is with Amnesty International’s South-East Asia and Pacific regional office.
He added that Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian authorities to end the crackdown on freedom of expression and to stop targeting dissenting voices.
“The organisation also calls on the government to repeal or review all laws that unduly restrict the right to freedom of expression,” said Benedict.
Namewee, or Wee Meng Chee, 33, was arrested at KLIA on Sunday.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the rapper will be brought to Penang for further investigations.
He has since been remanded for four days from Monday.
On Saturday, Namewee posted his Oh My God! music video on his Youtube channel.
He posted on Facebook, “OH MY GOD it’s here! Wishing everyone a hungry ghost festival :) Jiu Yi Yi. PDRM sila tengok MV baru Namewee! (PDRM please see Namewee’s new music video!)”
Earlier this month Penang police chief Comm Datuk Abdul Ghafar Rajab said Namewee’s arrest was over reports lodged against him over a video which featured Penang’s floating mosque in Tanjung Bungah as a backdrop, among others.
Claiming that Namewee insulted Islam in his latest production, 20 non-governmental organisations lodged police reports against the entertainer.
The four-minute clip, directed and produced by Namewee, features a Taiwanese band called Nine-One-One and was shot in places of worship in Penang.
In a separate video, Namewee said he released the music video with the intention of promoting religious harmony.