Malaysian laws provide for freedom of expression, Guan Eng tells police after Hannah Yeoh, Malaysiakini probes

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party strongly objected to the actions which raised questions about fundamental human rights and civil liberties in the country. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party strongly objected to the actions which raised questions about fundamental human rights and civil liberties in the country. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng condemned today the recent police investigations on Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh and Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan, saying it signalled shrinking democratic space under Perikatan Nasional (PN) rule.

He said DAP strongly objected to the actions which raised questions about fundamental human rights and civil liberties in the country.

“First, the police investigations against Hannah Yeoh, who has been asked to appear at Bukit Aman to be questioned over a Twitter post in which she expressed concern over the  future National Strategic Plan to Address the Causes of Underage Marriage under the new government,” Lim said in a statement.

Adding that the police are also calling Yeoh in over a false quote poster using her photo which has since become viral, the Bagan MP said the police should also identify the maker of the poster before calling in Yeoh.

“As the former Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister and a MP, she has every right to put forth her view in public, especially when she has been working on the issue under the Pakatan Harapan government.

“As a Malaysian citizen, the Federal Constitution guarantees her right to freedom of speech. The investigation against her is an attempt to silence and intimidate her from speaking out on these issues or criticise the Perikatan Nasional government,” he said.

Lim urged the police to halt the investigations, saying that DAP fully supports Yeoh on this matter.

“The authorities should be consistent by also acting firmly against pro-PN activists who spread lies against Pakatan leaders, such as the lies against me and my son being arrested at the Singapore International Airport with RM2 million in cash,” he said.

Lim then referred to Gan who is facing an application by Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to cite both him and Malaysiakini for contempt over readers’ comments in a June 9 article.

The DAP leader said the news portal editor should not have to face such legal action.

“It is reported that the Federal Court has already granted leave for the Attorney-General to start contempt proceedings against the online publication.

“While some of the comments are abhorrent in nature and should not be condoned, the Attorney-General must not attempt to penalise Malaysiakini or Steven Gan for those readers’ comments. Action, if any, should be initiated against the commentators for those comments, instead of Malaysiakini,” Lim said.

He added that in doing so, the AG is making news websites liable for what others say.

“For all intents and purposes, act against those who made irresponsible comments but not against a news portal that did not endorse those views.

“This is tantamount to blaming the vehicle for the accident when the driver is responsible. DAP urges the Attorney-General to withdraw the proceedings against Malaysiakini and Steven Gan to uphold media freedom,” he said.

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