PETALING JAYA: All Malaysians must uphold the Constitution and respect all religions, but there must be no excessive punishments like the 10-year jail sentence meted against a Facebook user for insulting Islam, says Lim Kit Siang.
The DAP adviser was referring to a Facebook user who was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months jail by the Kuching Sessions Court, after admitting that he had insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
Lim said as advised by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law) Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, the social media holder should appeal against the decision.
He added that social media has brought Malaysians to a new age, where what they say on social media was no longer private and can be immediately broadcast to the public.
"Malaysians must be conscious of the uses and abuses of social media, where its effects are magnified in an explosive manner.
"Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or Orang Asli, must develop a skeptical and cynical attitude to the messages they receive on social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or WhatsApp, to ask the important question with regard to every message, 'Is this true', and to check on the veracity of the message before sharing it with the others," he said in a statement on Sunday (March 10).
The Iskandar Puteri MP said he was giving his advice as someone who was a victim of social media lies.
He pointed out that among the lies shared on social media about him included demonising him as an anti-Malay, anti-Islam, and a communist, as well as being a relative of Chin Peng.
"Before the 14th General Election, such toxic politics alleged that I will be the Prime Minister of Malaysia if Pakatan Harapan wins the polls.
"When such lies and falsehoods were proved wrong after May 9, 2018, new lies and falsehoods were manufactured to allege that I am the real power in the Pakatan government in Putrajaya, and that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Mohamad Sabu were merely my stooges and puppets," he said.
Hence, Lim said if Malaysians can develop a healthy skepticism of what they receive on social media and by checking their veracity before sharing with others, it will then be a big step to check the abuses on all social media platforms.