'Even Najib didn't do this,' Syed Saddiq slams govt on media freedom

Saddiq expressed grave disappointment on the government's stringent measures against media, which he perceived as an assault on the principles of free and independent media.

02 Jul 2024 11:07am
Syed Saddiq.
Syed Saddiq.

SHAH ALAM - Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has slammed the current Malaysian government for its stringent measures against media freedom.

In his recent statements made in Dewan Rakyat, Saddiq expressed grave disappointment with the government’s actions, which he perceived as an assault on the principles of free and independent media.

“Even the former Member of Parliament for Pekan did not resort to such actions, yet the current government intends to do so, which I find quite strange.

"They have forgotten their past promises and are now interfering in ordinary matters that were previously left undisturbed,” he said.

Saddiq stressed that during the tenure of former Pekan Member of Parliament Datuk Seri Najib Razak, such restrictions were not imposed.

He added that despite numerous scandals during Najib's time, the media did not experience the level of suppression and control observed today.

This criticism comes in the wake of the government’s controversial decision to license social media companies and broaden controls under the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA).

According to media reports, government stakeholders, in discussions with industry players, were contemplating extending PPPA regulations to digital media content.

Additionally, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) is preparing to license social media and messaging platforms

Syed Saddiq's comments stressed a mounting concern over the decline of press independence under the current administration.

He highlighted a discussion led by Khairy Jamaluddin on the BlackRock issue, which was backed by facts and data in a video that was later removed.

He further emphasised the government's criteria for silencing dissenting voices.

Saddiq criticised the minister's attempt to deflect blame, stating that the removal of the video was attributed to TikTok, not the government itself.

"Oh, it's not the government's fault. TikTok took it down. However, who made threats against TikTok, alleging there was a kill switch?

"Who now seeks to license social media companies after previously advocating for the abolition of the Printing and Publication Act, but now intends to expand its scope?" he added.

Syed Saddiq's firm stance highlights his dedication to political integrity and media freedom, calling for an independent judiciary and a free press as fundamental elements of democracy.

According to media reports, former minister Khairy Jamaluddin's TikTok posts discussing BlackRock and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) were recently removed.

Khairy also shared a notice from TikTok confirming the removal of two video clips concerning the MAHB privatization deal with Global Infrastructure Partners, a deal in which US investment firm BlackRock is involved. Khairy raised concerns about the lack of transparency surrounding the deal and questioned the foreign partner's expertise in airport management compared to MAHB.