Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has told reporters today that he has changed his mind about filing a police report against a netizen, Sangeetha Thanapal, on Facebook, who left some “inaccurate and seditious” comments in response to the law minister’s remarks about the Malaysian education system.
He says that after meeting with Ms Sangeetha today, he found that she did not have an “active intention” to cause ill will between races even though her comments were “completely untrue”.
In Ms Sangeetha’s Facebook post – which has since been taken down – Ms Sangeetha labelled Shanmugam an “Islamaphobic bigot who thinks Malay-Muslims are a threat”. Mr Shanmugam later issued a response on Facebook explaining that Ms Sangeetha had misrepresented his comments and reiterated his views that the Malaysian education system was not good for integration. In his post, Mr Shanmugam said he intended to lodge a police report against Ms Sangeetha for her post.
Within an hour of Shanmugam’s posting, Ms Sangeetha took down her Facebook post. Shanmugam also replied to Ms Sangeetha, telling her that he would be happy to discuss the matter in person with her.
“So I met her today… She said she had re-read and realized that what she had said was untrue and apologized. And I accepted the apology,” said Mr Shanmugam. “And I think I was prepared to accept that it was a rush of blood, people go and say things without really thinking about what they intend to say and end up saying all sorts of things which are untrue.”
“No sensible interpretation of what I said can lead to that kind of remarks that she had made. And I was also concerned that kind of remarks she makes will cause ill will amongst the different races.”
He added: “I also made a judgement call after listening to her that she perhaps didn’t have active intention to cause that outcome. … She perhaps realizes that she needs to be more careful when it comes to racial issues and I decided that I will not file a police report.”