Malaysiakini hits RM500,000 goal to pay court fine within four hours of fundraiser launch

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to reporter at the Federal Court in Putrajaya February 19, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan speaks to reporter at the Federal Court in Putrajaya February 19, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — News portal Malaysiakini has managed to raise over RM500,000 within the span of roughly four hours to pay for the fine imposed by the Federal Court for contempt earlier this morning.

The fine was handed down at 11.05am, with the donation drive beginning at around 11.44am.

By 4.26pm, Malaysiakini had managed to raise approximately RM505,000. The fundraising was then closed at 4.31pm.

On Malaysiakini’s website, its donation tracker recorded RM544,524 at the time of writing after the campaign was ended.

Among the biggest contributions came from DAP, with 50 of its MPs, senators, and assemblymen each donating RM1,000 and the party itself donating RM10,000.

PKR also donated RM20,000.

MPs from other political parties were also said to have donated, but the lion’s share of the funds came from members of the public, who donated between RM20 and RM1,000 per person.

On social media, supporters and readers had posted screenshots of their online transactions into Malaysiakini’s bank account to show their solidarity.

The sentencing by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Rohana Yusuf of the decision by a panel of seven judges was due to Malaysiakini’s facilitation of five readers’ remarks against the judiciary on its website.

The five comments were posted under a June 9, 2020 news report titled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1” with Malaysiakini having previously said that it was alerted at 12.45pm on June 12 about these comments when police contacted them to notify about investigations regarding these comments.

In court documents, Malaysiakini previously said it was not aware of the five offensive comments previously as no readers had reported these comments and as the comments did not carry any of the “suspected words” that Malaysiakini’s filter could detect, further noting that the editorial team had immediately reviewed the comments upon being alerted by the police and removed the comments at 12.57pm the same day.

On June 17, the Federal Court allowed the Attorney General to start contempt of court proceedings against Malaysiakini’s operator Mkini Dot Com Sdn Bhd and Malaysiakini’s “Ketua Editor”.

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