Press Statement 

Cease investigation into The Malaysian Insight

13 December 2017

Lawyers for Liberty view with extreme concern the investigation by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) on The Malaysian Insight regarding the editorial titled “A sham of an RCI” which criticised the recently concluded Royal Commission of Inquiry on the foreign exchange losses in the 1990s.

The online news portal CEO and editor, Jahabar Sadiq was among five individuals who were questioned by MCMC in the investigation.

We would like to remind MCMC that an independent press is one of the essential pillars of democracy as it shares information, ideas, comments and opinions and holds those in power to account. Freedom of expression is a universal human right and a guaranteed fundamental freedom under our Federal Constitution. It is not the prerogative for the government to give and take, to allow freedom of speech or the press that only favours the government to take place.

It is therefore shocking and unacceptable how MCMC have sought to censor and regulate media content when this is clearly none of MCMC’s concern. This frivolous investigation is an assault on press freedom and sends a chilling message to the press to self-censor or else they may invite retaliation.

MCMC should get their own house in order by focusing on being the professional, impartial and competent regulatory body for the communications and multimedia industry instead of being more known for the overzealous misuse of power in order to protect the image of the Prime Minister and his allies in cybersphere.

There are serious issues and genuine crimes which require MCMC’s urgent attention, such as the biggest personal data breach in Malaysia’s history involving more than 46 million users. As of today, MCMC have yet to give a satisfactory explanation on this disgraceful scandal that was reported due to MCMC’s Public Cellular Blocking Service (PCBS) system that was sub-contracted to a private company.

We therefore call upon MCMC to cease investigation into the Malaysian Insight and other frivolous social media type offences and instead focus on real crimes and issues such as fraud and data security.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty