24 September 2014 Tan (in red) with Lee, leaving the court building last year after they were released on bail. - The Malaysian Insider pic, September 24, 2014.
Alvin Tan, the blogger who had ran foul of authorities in both Malaysia and Singapore, claims to have fled to the United States, where he intends to seek political asylum. The 26-year-old and his partner, Vivian Lee, 25, are facing criminal charges under Malaysia's Sedition Act as well as the Film Censorship Act for their controversial online uploads, including a photo deemed insulting to Islam on Facebook, Channel News Asia (CNA) reported today.
The couple, who came to be known as "Alvivi", were jointly accused of making a seditious posting on their Facebook page last year, when they uploaded a photo of themselves eating the herbal pork soup dish, bak kut teh, with the caption "Selamat berbuka puasa" (Happy breaking fast) as it was posted during the Ramadan month.
Speaking to a CNA correspondent today, via a personal Facebook account that the regional broadcaster had verified belongs to the “sex blogger”, Tan said: “I'm busy starting a new life here (in the US), apart from awaiting my final asylum hearing. I'm here to seek political refuge from the tyranny of Umno - simple as that.” He added that he had first applied to the US authorities for asylum-seeker status in May, after disappearing from the public eye following a documentary shoot in Singapore.
CNA reported that he feels confident the US will grant him asylum, failing which, he feels he has no other choice but to continue posting "seditious material" online to strengthen his case. "The State Department produced a Human Rights Report on Malaysia in 2013 which explicitly cites my case as a repression of internet speech rights," he told CNA. "If all else fails, I can easily publish more 'seditious' materials on my Facebook to taunt the authorities and get them to be hot on the pursuit of me again, therefore creating an even more well-founded fear of political persecution to bolster my asylum claim.” Tan and Lee first got into the limelight for the wrong reasons in October 2012, when their pornographic images on a blog created a storm of controversy on both sides of the causeway.
As a result, Alvin, who was studying law at the National University of Singapore under an Asean scholarship, was marked for termination by the university. – September 24, 2014.