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Too harsh? Malaysian police defend arrest of teens who mocked Singapore in exam paper rant

Too harsh? Malaysian police defend arrest of teens who mocked Singapore in exam paper rant
The two 18-year-old boys arrested after ranting about the Malaysian national exam on TikTok later apologised in another video.
PHOTO: Screengrab/Twitter/@isusemasaviral

Malaysian police said it had acted in accordance with the law when arresting two teenagers linked to a viral TikTok video where they complained about a secondary school history exam paper.

In the video, one of the teens used vulgarities to criticise those who had set the questions and mocked Singapore, saying the Republic is "nothing but a kampung".

Hulu Selangor district police chief Suffian Abdullah said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 26) that the two 18-year-old boys were placed under remand to facilitate investigations for offences under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act 1995 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1988.

The statement was in response to Malaysian human rights group Lawyers of Liberty's criticism that the police had treated the boys too harshly.

The group said the police might have gone too far in raiding the boys' homes in Hulu Selangor, and then making them take a drug test.

Superintendent Suffian said the purpose of the two-day remand order against both teens was to have their statements recorded thoroughly and to fact-check with relevant parties, including checking their mobile phones and getting a disciplinary report from their school.

"Though the police had a remand order for two days, the students were released on bail earlier," he said.

He added that investigation papers will be completed and handed over to Selangor's deputy public prosecutor.

The police arrested the teenagers after a teacher filed a report the day before about a video the pair had posted online that went viral. The video shows them "uttering abusive words as they were allegedly dissatisfied" with the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) paper.

SPM, or the Malaysian Certificate of Education, is a national exam taken by all Form 5 students in Malaysia. It is the equivalent of the GCE O-level examinations in Singapore.

In the video, one teen can be seen swearing and making an obscene gesture while mocking questions about Singapore's history, saying these were not relevant to Malaysians.

"To those who made this SPM history paper, what about Singapore? People don't read about Singapore," he can be heard saying.

"This Singapore! You think I care about Singapore? Even for water, they use Malaysia's. Suddenly you come up with Singapore.

"And then with nationalism, the Constitution, making me tired reading about it, but it didn't make it (in the exam)."

The two teens apologised in a later video.

ALSO READ: 'You think I care about Singapore?' 2 teens in Malaysia arrested, made to take drug test after TikTok rant about history exam questions

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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