Malaysiakini probed under security law over Soros funding

'Malaysiakini' editor-in-chief Steven Gan confirms the police investigation being carried out on the news portal. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
'Malaysiakini' editor-in-chief Steven Gan confirms the police investigation being carried out on the news portal. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 — Police are investigating Malaysiakini under Section 124C of the Penal Code for allegedly trying to undermine parliamentary democracy because they received funds from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF).

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan confirmed that the investigation was under the law which was recently introduced in the Penal Code to address offences related to the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960.

According to Gan, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar texted the portal's chief news editor RK Anand yesterday to inform them about the move, amid the controversy on foreign funding after leaks emerged about US magnate Soros’ OSF's purported financing of several local groups.

“That's according to the IGP in a text message to us. [And] no, they have yet to call me for questioning,” he told Malay Mail Online.

Section 124C of the Penal Code prohibits the “attempt to commit an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy,” punishable with maximum 15 years’ jail.

The IGP confirmed with Malay Mail Online separately that the Malaysiakini investigation was under Section 124C of the Penal Code.

“It depends on our findings. Soon you will know,” Khalid replied, when asked whether Malaysiakini journalists will be detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.

In a commentary piece on the matter today, Malaysiakini said it has never incited the people to overthrow the government in undemocratic ways.

“We are flabbergasted by this outrageous accusation.

“How can fact-based news reporting tantamount to an attempt to derail our democratic tenets?” Malaysiakini said.

Yesterday, Red Shirts leader Datuk Jamal Yunos brought some 50 members from the group to demand an explanation on Malaysiakini's funding from OSF.

Despite the editors admitting that the news portal had received funds from OSF, Jamal vowed to stage a protest outside Malaysiakini's office tomorrow.

Malaysiakini has said that the OSF grant was used to produce the “Realiti Sarawak” and “Sekilas Bumi Kenyalang” programmes by its video arm, KiniTV, and that the grant only constituted a small portion of its revenue.

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