A voice recording of a man claiming to be from Johor recently went viral on WhatsApp.
He said that Sabah residents returning from the recent state elections are to blame for the spike in COVID-19 cases in Peninsular Malaysia.
According to Sinar Harian, police are now investigating the issue. Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hazani Ghazali told the Malay daily that although no reports have been filed, the authorities have decided to look into the matter anyway.
He said, "It's been viral for a few days across entire Malaysia, not just Sabah. I've received calls from certain parties who are unhappy with the words said in the voice recording as it is quite harsh and it does not represent Malaysians."
"As of now, no reports have been made but we will still conduct an investigation."
Hazani said that the police will work closely with Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in probing the case
He explained that the individual could be investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace which could carry up to two years of prison, or a fine, or both.
"Besides that, they could also be investigated under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 which carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year or both," he said.
Futhermore, Hazani stressed that members of the public should not issue a statement that could provoke the community, especially when the country is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.
"[The Royal Malaysia Police] would like to remind all Malaysians to be more careful when making statements or commentaries on social media, especially regarding sensitive issues in order to protect the peace in the country," he said.
The man behind the recording has since come forward and issued a public apology
According to Harian Metro, a one-minute video of the man apologising has made its rounds on WhatsApp today, 16 October.
In the clip, he said, "To the people of Sabah who are in Malaysia, especially in Johor, two days ago, I was angry and I insulted the people of Sabah. I said Sabahans are stupid and damned. Today, I would like to apologise for my words."
"I regret my actions and I will not repeat it and I will not insult the people of Sabah anymore," he added.
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