Alvin Tan Uploaded Controversial Picture For Fun, Says Ex-Girlfriend

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – The blogger Alvin Tan’s ex-girlfriend told the Sessions Court here today that the man had uploaded the controversial picture of them with a caption that insulted the Muslims simply for fun and to see the reaction of the public.

Vivian Lee or Lee May Ling, 27, said Tan told her so after she edited the picture and the caption which read: “Selamat Berbuka Puasa (with Bak Kut Teh…fragrant, delicious and appetising).” Lee said Tan then uploaded the picture and its caption into their Facebook page without seeking her permission even though she was one of the administrators of the page.

She said Tan had initially refused to delete or change the caption, but after being reprimanded and badly criticised by various quarters, he edited the caption and came out with a new caption that read: ‘Ampunkanlah kami. Selamat berbuka puasa dengan rendang ayam’. (Please forgive us. Selamat berbuka puasa with chicken rendang).

“The new caption was put out after sensing all the negative sentiments from the public which could simply lead to anger. It was hoped that the new caption could straighten things out and make the situation better. We fought. I was sad, unhappy and angry with his action. I told him to delete it but he refused to do so and said it was just for fun and to see the reaction of the public,” Lee said in her defence during the examination-in-chief by her lawyer Chong Joo Tian before Judge Abdul Rashid Daud.

She said the picture was taken at an eatery in Jalan Ipoh on July 10, 2013. The woman also said that Tan had pushed her when she tried to take his laptop computer. Lee and Tan, or his real name Tan Jye Yee, were both accused of publishing a picture of them having a meal with a caption “Selamat Berbuka Puasa (with Bak Kut Teh…fragrant, delicious and appetising)” with a halal logo on their joint Facebook page at 9 am on July 12, 2013.

They were charged under Subsection 4(1)(c) of the Seditious Act, which carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or three years’ jail or both, if convicted. On April 14, the court ordered Lee to enter her defence on the charge. During the trial, which began on Nov 23 last year, only Lee was present at the court, while Tan fled the country.

During the cross examination by deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, Lee denied that she and Tan had uploaded the picture together. To Wan Shaharuddin’s suggestion that she could have uploaded the picture herself, Lee disagreed, saying that did not have a Facebook account or a computer or a smartphone to enable her to do so. The proceedings continues tomorrow.

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