34-year-old man charged over racially offensive tweets made under pseudonym 'Sharon Liew'

34-year-old man charged over racially offensive tweets made under pseudonym 'Sharon Liew'

Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari at the State Courts on Jul 2, 2020.
Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari was charged in court on Thursday (Jul 2) over stoking racial tensions online under the pseudonym "Sharon Liew". (Photo: Hanidah Amin)

SINGAPORE: A 34-year-old man was charged in court on Thursday (Jul 2) over stoking racial tensions online under the pseudonym "Sharon Liew".

Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari was handed four charges, all relating to committing acts promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

On Apr 18, the police received a report that a Twitter user had posted offensive content against Indian migrant workers under the handle @sharonliew86.

Zainal allegedly posted a tweet under the handle @sharonliew86 on Oct 11, 2019, stating Malay students in the different academic streams were not on the same level as their Chinese counterparts.

The same tweet also mentioned Singapore's late founding minister Lee Kuan Yew's book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going as the basis of the tweet.

READ: COVID-19: Action to be taken against man who posted 'nasty' tweets insulting Indians, says Shanmugam

On Mar 25, he allegedly posted a tweet under the same handle using a racial slur against Indians about safe distancing in MRT trains.

Zainal also allegedly used the same racial slur against Indians in a tweet posted on Apr 17 under the same handle.

And on Apr 18, again under the handle @sharonliew86, he allegedly posted a tweet referring to Indians as shooting targets.

If found guilty, Zainal may be punished with a jail term of up to three years, fined, or both.

In a Facebook post on May 2, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said that "action will be taken" against the man.

“Done deliberately to stoke anger, unhappiness, racial tensions. Action will be taken,” Mr Shanmugam wrote.

READ: COVID-19: Forum letter on foreign worker dormitory cases reveals 'underlying racism', says Shanmugam​​​​​​​

The police said on Wednesday they will not condone acts that threaten racial and religious harmony in Singapore.

“Any person who makes remarks that can cause ill-will and hostility between the different races and religions will be dealt with swiftly and firmly."

Source: CNA/lk(ac)

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