NGO urges Putrajaya to set up religious hate crimes unit

Alim Mideh - file pic

KUCHING, March 14: Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspirations (Sapa) wants the federal government to set up a unit to monitor insults on all religions.

SAPA coordinator Alim Mideh said although it was very much appreciated that the Kuching High Court had ordered jailed Facebook user Alister Cogia, 22, to be sent for psychiatric evaluation for a month, it was crucial to have the proposed unit to ensure those found inciting religious hatred could be booked.

“We would like to thank the (Kuching High) court for allowing Alister to be under psychiatric observation for a month. The boy deserves a second chance. Ten years’ jail and RM50,000 fine are akin to killing him.

“We would like to thank his legal counsel for the services rendered and to all other ‘Bangsa Sarawak’ who appreciate justice for all,” he said in a statement today.

Alister, who was not represented by a counsel when he was sent to jail on March 8, was convicted of five charges under Section 298A (1)(a) of the Penal Code and five charges under Section 233 of the Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 for insulting Islam and Prophet Muhammad on his Facebook page.

However, upon hearing an application for a revision of the case yesterday, the High Court ordered that he be sent for psychiatric evaluation at the Kota Sentosa Hospital. — DayakDaily