Offensive post lands sex blog couple in trouble

MALAYSIA - Sex blog couple Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee were questioned by Malaysian police and media regulatory officials on Monday in connection with a posting and photograph deemed offensive to Muslims.

Last Thursday, they uploaded a picture which said Selamat Berbuka Puasa (Happy Breaking Fast) even as it showed them eating bak kut teh, which is haram, or forbidden, in Islam. The picture also had a "halal" logo.

The post drew about 500 comments from both Muslims and non-Muslims, who slammed the couple for being insensitive.

"You two are really a disgrace to Chinese society and the people of Malaysia," said Brian K.H. Tan.

Last Friday, Facebook administrators shut down their page, citing "strong negative feedback".

The couple vented their anger in their tweets, blaming the public, media and Facebook.

"You may shut us down now, but we'll be back. And we'll be stronger & better than ever!" they wrote last Saturday.

But on Sunday, Mr Tan and Ms Lee apologised for what they called their "stupidest stunt" via a video uploaded on YouTube.

"We... ask for forgiveness for offending Muslims in this holy month of Ramadan," Mr Tan said in Malay, with Ms Lee beside him.

"We had no intention to trivialise or to insult Islam or to incite racial conflict for that matter. We truly regret and apologise to all parties affected."

Ex-NUS law scholar and girlfriend post explicit videos online
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: Internet)
For more photos, click here.
Blog taken down due to parental pressure
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: AsiaOne)
Ex-NUS law scholar and girlfriend post explicit videos online
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: Internet)
For more photos, click here.

The couple gained notoriety last October after posting sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves online.

Mr Tan, 25, an Asean scholar studying law at the National University of Singapore at the time, later lost his scholarship and returned to Malaysia.

On Monday morning, the couple turned up at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) where they were questioned separately for nine hours, said The Star newspaper.

On Monday night, they were questioned by the police.

Their action prompted some Muslims groups to call for the law to be made tougher to deal with unbecoming online behaviour.

But the media regulators shot down the idea.

"Creating a new law won't solve the problem (of online misbehaviour). It's a societal problem, not a problem with the laws," said MCMC spokesman Sheikh Ahmad Raffie Abdul Rahman.

The couple could be sued for violating online decency laws or criminal laws, pending a decision by prosecutors, according to Deputy Minister of Communication and Multimedia Jailani Johari.

Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said on Monday that stern action should be taken against the couple immediately.

"(This) is not the time to take statements. Why wait any longer?" he was quoted by The Star as saying.

"Anyone who had offended the sensitivity of any religion, not only that of Islam but also the other religions, should face action."

lestkong@sph.com.sg

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