Singapore man arrested over Youth Olympic Games comments on Facebook
September 4 - A man in Singapore is facing charges of incitement of violence due to comments made on Facebook about the Government's preparations for last month's Summer Youth Olympic Games.
The 27-year-old had urged other users of the social networking site to "burn" the head of the Games Organising Committee.
Abdul Malik, a 27-year-old project officer in a construction company, was a a member of the Facebook page "I hate the Youth Olympics Games’ Organising Committee", an on-line dedicated to criticising the Government's preparations for the Games and the cost of them.
On the Facebook site, Abdul called for "us to burn Vivian Balakrishnan", Singapore's Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports the head of the organising committee.
Malik claimed meant the statement as a metaphor - to vote out the ruling People's Action Party, of which Balakrishnan is a member.
"I used it to express anger at the way the management handles it. It is supposed to be figurative speech," said Malik.
"I did not intend for it to be taken literally.
"I did not mean for someone to actually burn.
"The language is strong - vitriolic, but at the end of the day, when the whole paragraph is read, the idea comes across, and I don’t know how that was actually the basis of my arrest.
"Because I still maintain that I’m innocent and that I had no intention of doing any criminal acts, and no intention of physically abusing anybody."
Malik has apologised to Balakrishnan over the comments but continues to claim that the Games could have been organised better.
"The YOG could have been better managed, and the crisis control was lacking," he said.
"And it’s what gets me irked up.
"Even if we are not perfect these are things are preventable.
"Emotionally, I’m pretty alright because I know my conscience is clear.
"There is a lot of support online, and some people have written in to the Ministry of Communication, Youth and Sports, demanding the reasons for this arrest.
"I had no intention of doing harm to anybody.
"Why they came after me, is still a question."
One Facebook poster calling himself "Kok Meng" wrote "seems like even metaphors are forbidden these days".
"Police should get a grip and let loose," he wrote.
"We are a democracy."