By Alyaa Alhadjri | Malaysiakini
South China Morning Post Malaysia correspondent Tashny Sukumaran was today questioned by federal police in relation to her tweets about a May 1 immigration raid at the Selangor Mansion Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) area in Kuala Lumpur.
Lawyer New Sin Yew, who accompanied Tashny to Bukit Aman this morning, said his client was questioned for two hours under section 504 of the Penal Code and section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
“The government is harassing Tashny by investigating her for tweets made in the course of her duties as a journalist.
“This is an assault on press freedom by the government, which is absolutely vital in times of crisis,” New (below) told Malaysiakini when contacted.
Section 504 of the Penal Code states that whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
Section 233 of the CMA meanwhile criminalises sharing of offensive and menacing content, with a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year or both.
New further pointed out that Tashny was tweeting from the scene as a journalist, although she was not questioned over the Hong Kong-based daily’s published article titled “Coronavirus: Hundreds arrested as Malaysia cracks down on migrants in Covid-19 red zones”.
Her handphone was seized after the questioning, he added.
Bukit Aman criminal investigation department director Huzir Mohamed (above) previously said police will proceed to question Tashny today despite Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s instruction for the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to drop its own investigation.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had repeatedly denied claims of alleged mistreatment of migrants during and after the raids, telling critics to be “thankful” to the government for ensuring those arrested are tested negative for Covid-19.
He also said the migrants who committed offences under Malaysia’s immigration laws could not be allowed to walk free, even after the MCO has been lifted.