Malaysiakini claims interns physically harassed by Umno leaders

Students protest Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meet-and-greet session in front of Restoran Amjal near Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Students protest Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meet-and-greet session in front of Restoran Amjal near Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Malaysiakini accused today two Umno leaders of harassing two of its female intern reporters who were covering Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meet-and-greet at Universiti Malaya.

According to a report by Malaysiakini, one of their interns, journalism student Mariam Nizar, 25, said she was harassed by Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno division chief Mutalib Abdul Rahim and Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam.

“A man wearing a jubah (Lokman) put his face near mine, and I told him to move aside and respect my personal space.

“He then told me ‘mak kaulah personal space,’’ she was quoted saying in a police report today.

Both men were supposedly upset with the news portal’s report that Universiti Malaya students protesting against Najib were physically manhandled during a fracas which broke out at the event.

After the scuffle, Mariam reportedly called Malaysiakini’s BM desk editor Jimadie Shah Othman to alert him. Mutalib then snatched his name card from Mariam’s hand and allegedly injured her finger in the process.

Another Malaysiakini intern Ramieza Wahid, 25, was also allegedly harassed and even shoved by either Mutalib or Lokman.

The interns were also verbally abused during the incident, with some calling them stupid” and “liar” as well as other indecent remarks.

Malaysiakini later accompanied them to lodge their police report at the Petaling Jaya police station.

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan had condemned the harassment and stated that such physical or verbal abuse was unwarranted.

“They have crossed the line by verbally and physically attacking our interns who were just doing their job. We must send a loud and clear message that such violence will not be tolerated,” he said.

Najib told Malaysiakini he regretted that journalists were caught up in the fracas and voiced disappointment over the students’ so-called provocation and subsequent commotion.