Former coalition allies Teresa Kok (Harapan-Seputeh) and Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah (PN-Indera Mahkota) traded barbs over the raid today on Al Jazeera’s premises.
Saifuddin, in dismissing Kok’s persistence in pressing for an answer, said that she was playing politics, while the latter took to Twitter to express her disappointment in Saifuddin whom she called a “changed man”.
Kok was pressing Saifuddin over the raid earlier today on Al Jazeera’s KL office in which authorities seized several devices believed to be used in the production of the 25-minute documentary titled “Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown”.
She had earlier sought an answer from Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin but had not received one.
“I have answered this earlier. There is the law, there are enforcement agencies but the MP wants to keep asking,” said Saifuddin.
“This is not a legal answer but a political answer,” he added.
“We must remember the symbiotic relationship that was established during Covid-19 between frontliners and the people,” answered Saifuddin, who also claimed that foreigners were disparaging Malaysia’s frontliners and quoted a proverb saying that if one pinches the left thigh, the right thigh feels the pinch too.
Countering his intimation that Al Jazeera’s documentary had tarnished Malaysia’s image, Kok (below) suggested that raiding an internationally accepted media would negatively impact upon the image of the minister and the country.
“Who is (negatively) impacting the image, if not that documentary?” Saifuddin asked back.
Kok then asked why the government was so reluctant to investigate the documentary’s claims and went after its makers and participants instead.
Later on, she tweeted: “He failed to answer me and accused me of playing politics. Very disappointed. He is a changed man!”
Saifuddin had earlier diced with DAP’s Kluang MP Wong Shu Qi on the issue of the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) Act 1981, for which he was heavily criticised after initially saying that a license from Finas was required for all filming activities in Malaysia before clarifying that he intended to amend the law.
“Looking at the complex issue, the Cabinet has made a decision to amend the Finas act,” he told Wong, who asked why an act that was intended to encourage filmmaking in the country was being used to censor unfavourable news.
When Wong asked why Saifuddin’s government was using such outdated laws, he asked why they had not been amended during Pakatan Harapan’s time in power.
“YB, our (Communications) minister (Gobind Singh Deo) also did not use these laws in the field of news,” replied Wong.