No proof yet that Sarawak Report exposés are false, MCMC admits after blocking site

Sarawak Report blocked for Malaysian netizens by MCMC. — File pic
Sarawak Report blocked for Malaysian netizens by MCMC. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Local Internet regulators said today it has yet to obtain proof that the exposés on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) by Sarawak Report (SR) contained false information.

But in explaining its decision to block access to the whistleblower site, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) reportedly said the move was a preventive measure.

According to Malaysiakini, MCMC’s monitoring and enforcement chief Zulkarnain Mohd Yassin told a meeting today with the chief editors of several online media outfits in Putrajaya that the agency will only decide on calling off the block once the police complete their investigations.

“Let the investigation take its course,” he was quoted saying.

“We could have blocked it much earlier, but we didn’t,” he added.

During the meeting, Zulkarnain also told the media organisations to be “a little cautious” in their reporting but stressed that he was not warning them but merely offering “friendly advice”.

“When the situation warrants it, we will take action,” he was quoted saying in Malaysiakini.

Citing “national stability”, the MCMC on Sunday confirmed that it ordered all Internet service providers in Malaysia to block access to SR’s website, pending a multi-agency taskforce’s investigation into 1MDB.

SR has since stood by its reports, however, and said on Tuesday that it may sue Umno minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan for criminal libel after the latter accused the website of publishing lies and labelled its founder Clare Rewcastle Brown “scum”.

The whistleblower site also said it is was mooting legal recourse against local daily the New Straits Times and other publications that it claims have deliberately reported falsehoods to damage its credibility.

Rahman had last week told reporters that he had evidence that SR and its editors had fabricated the alleged document leaks in an attempt to discredit Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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