Activists who spray painted road signs in Penang arrested

By S. Harrish

TWO Malay rights activists have been arrested by the police for spray painting the Chinese translation of road names in Penang on Sunday night.

The duo, Mohd Firdaus Adnan, better known as “Tok Singa”, and PAS’ Azmi Jaafar,  were initially summoned by the police at 9pm yesterday for questioning but were later arrested.

According to a FreeMalaysiaToday report, their lawyer Shamsher Singh Thind said they were questioned until 1.30am and released on police bail after they promised to cooperate with police for any further questioning.

The case is being investigated under Sections 427 and 505(c) of the Penal Code for committing mischief and making statements conducive to public mischief, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for sharing offensive content online.

Northeast district police chief Soffian Santong confirmed the arrests and said the investigation was ongoing.

Tok Singa and Azmi had been shown on social media spraying paint on the Chinese translation of road names in the heritage quarter, saying only Bahasa Malaysia can be used as it is the official language.

Later, Tok Singa went on Facebook to say that his “Tok Singa Page” had been deleted by the social media giant for going against their community standards. He said he would use a new page to communicate with his “fans”.

The Penang government had allowed dual language road signs on the island, especially on historic roads.

While the road names are prominently spelled out in Bahasa Malaysia, the signs bear a sub-text in either Jawi, Chinese, Tamil or even Gurmukhi (Punjabi script), depending on the histories of these roads.