People Online Are Fantasizing About Malaysia Cracking Down on Right-Wing Commentator Ian Miles Cheong

People Online Are Fantasizing About Malaysia Cracking Down on Right-Wing Commentator Ian Miles Cheong

Malaysian right-wing commentator and social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong was quick to dispel rumors spreading on the internet that his home government supposedly executed him over his past pro-Israel posts.

“Seriously. I can’t even take a nap without waking up to some nonsense,” Cheong wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday afternoon local time, in response to another post by user Kristi Yamaguccimane (@TheWapplehouse) that read: “Ian Miles Cheong has been executed by the Malaysian government at the order of Anwar Ibrahim for his continued online support of Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. He was 35 years old.”

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The post falsely declaring Cheong’s death has since been deleted, but not before it garnered thousands of retweets and tens of thousands of likes—and inspired celebration from social media users who apparently dislike Cheong.

It followed an earlier post over the weekend by Australian political activist Drew Pavlou that attracted similar attention for its suggestion that Cheong’s suppression by the Malaysia government was imminent.

Cheong, who is based in Ipoh according to Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times, is a current contributor to Canadian media company Rebel News and former contributor to sites including The Daily Caller and Russian state media RT. But he’s most known for his social media presence: on X, he has more than 900,000 followers and has even earned a sizable income by farming engagement, often through resharing viral videos and frequently commenting on American politics, courting controversy for views criticized as racist and anti-LGBT.

The influencer’s residence has previously been a topic of discourse but it gained newfound attention last week when an anonymous user CensoredMan posted a thread on X on Feb. 9 that went viral accusing Cheong of being a “grifter” who posts “divisive” content “because it’s profitable,” highlighting some of Cheong’s posts on the war in Gaza as examples.

The next day, Cheong disputed the characterization of his position on the issue, telling New Straits Times that he has repeatedly advocated for peace on both sides. He also posted on X: “I actually love my country. The food is great, it’s peaceful, and it’s a strong conservative nation.”

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation in Southeast Asia, has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel and is a strong supporter of Palestinians and Hamas. While there is no evidence that authorities have targeted Cheong—and the Malaysian government has not responded to questions from TIME—the country’s Sedition Act of 1948, deemed “archaic” by critics, bans the use of any act, speech, or publication that spurs contempt against the government or Malaysia’s monarchs and prohibits inciting ill will and hostility between different races and classes of citizens. In December, Malaysian police arrested a 36-year-old man who supported the establishment of Malaysia-Israel ties.

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