A controversial celebrity, Azwan Ali was fined RM17,000, in default six months’ jail, by the Sessions Court here today for insulting staff of the Putrajaya Hospital over their role as frontliners in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Judge Azura Alwi meted out the fine after Azwan, 54, also known as “Diva AA” pleaded guilty to the charge with improper use of network facilities.
He was charged with using his Youtube social network, “DIVAAATERSOHOR”, to initiate the transmission of offensive communication with intent to annoy others, which was watched at the office of the Putrajaya Hospital Deputy Director lin Putrajaya last March 24, before a report was lodged at the Precinct 7 Police Station at 4.59 pm the following day.
The charge was made under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and punishable under Section 233(3) of the same law, which provides an imprisonment for up to a year, or fine of up to RM50,000, or both, upon conviction.
Azwan also made a public apology in the court to the Hospital Putrajaya staff.
“I regretted my action and this serves a huge lesson in my life,” he added.
Earlier, in mitigation, Azwan’s lawyer, Ammanjeet Singh, from the National Legal Aid Foundation, said it was Azwan’s first offence and that he had apologised for his action in all his social media accounts.
However, deputy public prosecutor Mohd Radzi Shah Ab Razak, requested the court for a proportionate punishment in view of the current situation where all quarters should learn to respect those who are working on the frontline in addressing the spread of COVID-19.
“The transmission of the communication was made during the Movement Control Order (MCO), which is serious,” he added.
Judge Azura, before handing out the sentence, advised all quarters to respect personnel on duty in the frontline and to work together to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Following enforcement of MCO, which has been extended until April 14, to curb the spread of COVID-19, courts nationwide are closed, and only opened to handle new cases for remand andbail application, with minimum presence of people in the court room.
Even media practitioners are not allowed in the court room and compound, but they are allowed to wait outside the gate near the guard house to obtain information on cases from the prosecution and lawyers.