DAP strongly objects to the investigations against Hannah Yeoh and AG’s application to cite Malaysiakini for contempt over readers’ comments

DAP objects strongly to 2 recent acts by the authorities which raises disturbing questions about fundamental human right of freedom of expression and the shrinking democratic space under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

First, the police investigations against Segambut MP, Saudari Hannah Yeoh. Saudari Hannah has been asked to appear in Bukit Aman to be questioned over a Twitter post in which she expressed concern over the future National Strategic Plan to Address the Causes of Underage Marriage under the new Government. According to the police, Saudari Hannah is being investigated Section 505 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Bukit Aman also released a media statement stating that Saudari Hannah will be called in to assist in an investigation under the Sedition Act, Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act for a false quote poster using her photo which has become viral. However, the police should have ascertained the maker of the false quote poster first before calling in Saudari Hannah.

As the former Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development and a Member of Parliament, she has every right to put forth her view in public, especially when she has been working on the issue under the Pakatan Harapan government. As a Malaysian citizen, the Federal Constitution guarantees her right to freedom of speech. The investigations against her is an attempt to silence and intimidate her from speaking out on these issues or criticise the Perikatan Nasional government.

DAP condemns such actions against Saudari Hannah and call upon the police to halt these investigations. The DAP stands firmly in support and solidarity with Saudari Hannah Yeoh. The authorities should be consistent by also acting firmly against pro-PN activists who spread lies against PH leaders, such as the lies against me and my son being arrested at the Singapore International Airport with RM2 million in cash.

The second incident is in relation to application by the Attorney General, Tan Sri Idrus Harun to cite Malaysiakini and its editor in chief, Steven Gan, for contempt over readers’ comments in an article dated June 9 titled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1.” It is reported that the Federal Court has already granted leave for the AG to start contempt proceedings against the online publication.

While some of the comments are abhorrent in nature and should not be condoned, the AG must not attempt to penalise Malaysiakini or Steven Gan for those readers’ comments. Action, if any, should be initiated against the commentators for those comments, instead of Malaysiakini.

The AG is placing an onerous responsibility on the media websites by making them liable for what others say. For all intents and purposes, act against those who made irresponsible comments but not against a news portal that did not endorse those views.

This is tantamount to blaming the vehicle for the accident when the driver is responsible. DAP urges the AG to withdraw the proceedings against Malaysiakini and Steven Gan to uphold media freedom.

19 June 2020
Press Statement by Lim Guan Eng,
DAP Secretary-General and MP For Bagan

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