Malaysia seeks Interpol help to locate comedian over controversial remarks

Malaysian authorities are seeking assistance from Interpol to locate Singapore-born comedian Jocelyn Chia, who is believed to be based in New York, following her controversial remarks about Malaysia during a recent comedy performance. Inspector-General of Police Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani announced that the application to obtain Chia’s identity and location will be made as soon as possible to commence investigations.

The case is being investigated under Section 504505 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act. Section 504 of the Penal Code pertains to intentional insult to provoke a breach of the peace, which is punishable under Section 505 with a maximum jail sentence of two years, a fine, or both. Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act addresses the improper use of network facilities.

The Malaysian police have also requested the Malaysia Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to provide a profile of the social media accounts used by Chia. Acryl Sani said, “We have also made a transcript of the suspect’s speech in the video clip.”

It remains unclear whether the police will seek to extradite Chia to Malaysia for the investigations or if charges will be filed. Malaysia and the United States signed an extradition treaty in 1995.

Chia gained widespread attention on social media for her disparaging comments about Malaysia in a stand-up comedy skit on The Comedy Cellar, a US-based show that aired online last week. Her remarks about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with all 239 people on board presumed dead, sparked a nationwide backlash in Malaysia.

Following Chia’s performance, Umno Youth, a Malaysian political party, submitted a memorandum to the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Brian D. McFeeters, urging a thorough investigation into the incident and appropriate measures to address the situation.

Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia, Vanu Gopala Menon, also condemned Chia’s remarks and apologised to all Malaysians in a separate statement. Menon clarified that Chia, who was born in Singapore, is no longer a citizen of the country. According to The Straits Times, Chia has become a naturalised US citizen.

World News

Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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