KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 – Vivian Lee, the former girlfriend of controversial blogger Alvin Tan, was sentenced to five months and 22 days’ jail by the Sessions Court here today for insulting the Muslims by making an offensive posting on their Facebook. Judge Abdul Rashid Daud handed down the sentence on Vivian Lee, or Lee May Ling, 27, after finding that the prosecution had succeeded in proving the case against her.
He ordered the woman to serve the sentence today. Abdul Rashid had initially sentenced Lee to six months’ jail, but reduced it by eight days after her lawyer, Chong Joo Tian, requested the sentence to take into account the number of days she was in remand. Abdul Rashid also allowed a stay of the sentence pending an appeal at the High Court, and increased Lee’s bail from RM10,000 to RM20,000 in one surety. Lee was also ordered to surrender her passport to the court.
In the judgment, Abdul Rashid said Lee was a knowledgeable and educated person and should be able to consider the sensitivity of the Muslims before posting a picture of her and Tan Alvin with a caption “Selamat Berbuka Puasa (with Bak Kut Teh…fragrant, delicious and appetising)” on their Facebook.
“The court agrees with the prosecution’s submission that the action by the accused is damaging, although the accused had apologised. After hearing and studying all the evidence and submission by both parties, the court finds the accused guilty and is convicted of the charge,” he added.
Earlier, Chong had requested for his client to be placed on a good behaviour bond on grounds that the offence committed by her did not involve violence or cause injury. The accused was not involved in committing the act and it is approapriate for the court to give her a second chance as she regretted what she did, he added.
Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, who prosecuted, requested that the accused be jailed for between 20 and 24 months as the offence was serious and involved public interest. Lee and Tan were jointly charged with committing the offence at 9 am on July 13, 2013.
The offence, under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948, provides a fine of RM5,000, or three months imprisonment, or both, if found guilty. Meanwhile, Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin, when met outside the court, said the prosecution against Tan would continue although Tan was no longer in the country. As such, he urged the police to expedite the process of bringing Tan, whose full name is Tan Jye Yee, back to Malaysia for the trial.