Lawmaker urges minister to explain if all Malaysians must put up RM50,000 just to post videos on social media

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 23, 2020 — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil speaks during a press conference at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 23, 2020 — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 23 — Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil pressed Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah today to explain if he meant all Malaysians were required to obtain a licence to produce any video content, after the minister implied so in Parliament.

Fahmi said the minister’s remarks were worrying as they suggested that that any person producing video content, even for personal use on social media, was subject to the licensing requirement that also needed them to have companies with a paid up-up capital of RM50,000 each.

He pointed to a recent video published from content creator Dustin Pfundheller on his Facebook page title Other Side of the Truth on May 18 and asked the minister if this production was also licensed.

The video was shown on the state-owned Bernama TV.

“I asked earlier as a supplementary question, whether Dustin Pfundheller has a licence from Finas (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia) but it was not answered (by the minister). 

“This is worrying as it would implicate all social media users who use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, following the minister’s interpretation of the Finas Act,” Fahmi told reporters during a press conference at the Parliament media centre today.

A check of the Finas website showed that among requirements for applicants of its filming licence was for them to be registered as owners of a private limited company with at least RM50,000 in paid-up capital.

According to Section 21(1) of the Perbadanan Kemajuan Filem Nasional Malaysia (Finas) Act, any person producing, distributing or exhibiting “films” must be licensed.

Today, the PKR lawmaker expressed concern that the broad meaning of the law was being used to target critics of the government, such as the Al Jazeera news outlet that is being investigated for this very offence.

“(What if) the interpretation is done as selective prosecution? And the rest are not affected.

“I didn’t manage to ask if the video by Dustin which was broadcast by Bernama TV, if that had a licence from Finas. 

“I hope the minister or the ministry can give an explanation. Because this affects all social media users and requires them to obtain licence from Finas,” he said. 

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