A 34-year-old Singapore man who posted racially sensitive tweets against Indians and Malay students using the pseudonym 'Sharon Liew' has been charged with four counts of fueling racial tensions. The man has been identified as Zainal Abidin Shaiful Bahari.
The twitter user is strapped with charges relating to committing acts promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. If found guilty, Bahari may be punished with a jail term of up to three years, fined, or both.
What Were the Tweets Which Landed Bahari in Trouble?
In the first post dating back to October 11, 2019, Bahari under the pseudonym SharonLiew86 attacked the Malay students claiming that they were inferior to their Chinese counterparts. In the same tweet he also mentioned Singapore's late founding father Lee Kuan Yew's book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going, as the basis of the tweet, reported CNA.
In yet another tweet on March 25, Bahari tweeted another post from the same handle, targeting the Indians in the country. Using a racial slur against the Indians he wrote about safe distancing in MRT trains. A similar racial post was again made by the user.
However, on April 18, Bahari, while making fun of the pottu, a dot commonly found on the foreheads of those who practise Hinduism, posted a tweet referring to Indians as shooting targets, reported The Straits Times.
On the same day, the police received a report that a Twitter user had posted offensive content against Indian migrant workers under the handle @sharonliew86, reported the outlet.
Bahari's Identity Was Revealed Within Five Days of Police Complaint
In a statement issued later, the police said that officers from Bedok Police Division established Bahari's real identity within five days of receiving the complaint.
In their statement, the police said that 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," said the police.
Stating that action will be taken against Bahari, Singapore's Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam posted on Facebook: "The nasty posts were done deliberately to stoke anger, unhappiness, racial tensions. Action will be taken."
Bahari, whose pre-trial conference will be held on July 30, was offered bail of $5,000 on Thursday.