Court fines trader RM23,000 for offensive remark on helicopter crash

TAIPING — An online trader who made an offensive remark on the helicopter crash during a training exercise at the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Lumut Base was fined RM23,000 by the Sessions Court here today.

Judge Nabisha Ibrahim meted out the sentence on Saifuddin Shafik, 35, after he pleaded guilty to the charge and ordered him to serve three months in prison if he failed to pay the fine.

“This punishment serves as a reminder to prevent you from repeating such offences and to caution the public about the responsible use of social media. Use social media wisely,” she emphasised.

In court, Saifuddin also publicly apologised to the victims’ family members, the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) and the public for his actions.

“When I posted it I was aware, and I deeply regret my actions. I would not have done so if I did not suffer from bipolar disorder,” he said.

“I sincerely apologise to the families of the victims, the Armed Forces and anyone else who was offended by my post,” he said after paying the fine.

Saifuddin said he would deactivate his X account to prevent similar incidents from ocurring in the future.

I deeply regret my inappropriate behaviour, especially during such a tragic event,” he said.

Saifuddin was charged with knowingly making and sending an offensive communication through the X application service under the profile name ‘Saifuddin Shafik @saishafik’, with the intention of causing distress to others.

The offence was committed  at about 1.15pm on April 23, and the content was accessed at Gedung Sari, Jalan Harmoni, Pusat Bandar Bagan Serai at 6.30pm on the same day.

The charge framed under Section 233(1)(a)(ii) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, punishable under Section 233(3), provides a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both and shall also be liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day during which the offence is continued after conviction

Earlier, Perak prosecution director Wan Azimah Yaacob, urged for a severe sentence to deter similar incidents in the future and to send a message to both the accused and the public about responsible social media use.

Saifuddin’s lawyer, Amin Othman, requested a fine as punishment, highlighting that his client earns between RM2,000 and RM2,500 and financially supports his wife and parents.

Amin added that Saifuddin who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder since 2011, had been undergoing treatment at various medical centres until 2023, and this is his first offence. — BERNAMA