KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 15 — Newly appointed Environment Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man today urged all racist and personal attacks towards a reporter from Malaysiakini for a story she wrote to stop.
The PAS deputy president said any misunderstanding or mistakes that arise from writing an article is common and should be handled in a professional manner.
“I disagree with any personal attacks towards a reporter.
“Mistakes, misconstrued information that strays far from the context are common,” Tuan Ibrahim said in a statement.
“Matters such as these can be handled with just an explanation and can be handled in a professional way. The environment is an agenda that crosses the racial, religion and geographical divide.”
For the past several days, Malaysiakini reporter Kow Gah Chie had been targeted by social media users with racist abuse after she wrote an article mentioning Tuan Ibrahim defending logging activities in Kelantan.
These logging activities were said to be encroaching into the habitat of the Orang Asli as well as wildlife in Kelantan and have been a contentious issue for several years.
Gah Chie came under fire as apparently during an event with Tuan Ibrahim at his new ministry she was asking a lot of questions but none of them was related to logging in Kelantan.
Videos were circulating online of the said press conference with Tuan Ibrahim and Gah Chie but there was no mention of logging.
Hence when the story came out titled “New environment minister defends logging in Kelantan” it drew the ire of the public and supporters of Tuan Ibrahim as it made him look bad.
Then began the inflow of hateful remarks on social media. Some even found old pictures of Gah Chie and shared it online while calling her ugly.
Besides that, some even threatened physical attacks on Gah Chie while others encouraged and applauded it.
According to a Malaysiakini article, they have reached out to Facebook administrators to complain about the influx of hateful comments and violent instigations from the public.
They also made several reports regarding the offensive posts but Facebook said they have no issue with what’s being shared currently.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and reporters movement group Geramm have both condemned the acts and asked for a stop to it.