RM500,000 In Less Than 5 Hours – How Freedom Of Speech Lost In The Kangaroo Court, But Won In The People’s Court

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Feb 20 2021
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Immediately after independent Malaysian news portal MalaysiaKini was found guilty of contempt and fined RM500,000 by Federal Court, the country’s highest court, the online news portal swung into action – seeking public’s help to raise the money. The exorbitant fines must be paid within 3 working days, which is next Wednesday (Feb 24, 2021).


Thanks to the public uproar over the unfair decision of the judiciary system, long seen as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country, donations started pouring in. In less than 5 hours, it was mission accomplished. It has managed to raise at least RM552,321. Editor-in-chief Steven Gan said he was “shocked and dumbfounded” twice today – the astronomical fine and public donations.


It’s not hard to understand why people had willingly sent cash to help the news portal, despite the current economic uncertainty. People were furious at the death of freedom of speech and expression when the Federal Court delivered a 6-1 judgement that MalaysiaKini should be held in contempt over “comments” posted on its website by the readers.

MalaysiaKini Editor-in-Chief Steven Gan

MalaysiaKini, however, had argued in court that Malaysian laws did not require online news websites to pre-moderate comments before being published. The news portal also said it was not aware of the five “offensive comments” as no readers had reported those comments and the comments did not trigger any of the “words” that MalaysiaKini’s had configured to filter.


The editorial team explained that upon alerted by the police, it had instantly removed the comments. But obviously the court was not interested in seeing justice being delivered as it had already determined to punish the news website for allegedly facilitating five readers’ offensive comments against the judiciary. But was the judiciary really innocent in the first place?


At the centre of the fiasco was five comments posted under an article titled “CJ orders all courts to be fully operational from July 1” which was posted on 9 June, 2020. However, backdoor Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin handpicked Attorney General Idrus Harun had accused the comments of containing words offensive towards the judiciary and chief justice.

Idrus Harun

Idrus, a controversial attorney general, also claimed that the comments threatened public confidence in the judiciary and were an insult to its integrity. So, on 15 June, the attorney general filed charges against MalaysiaKini and Steven Gan under Article 126 of the Federal Constitution. But the charges were flawed from the beginning.


Online news sites like MalaysiaKini is hosts – not publishers – of messages posted in the comment sections or other message boards that are open to the public. Going by the attorney general’s half-baked logic, why hasn’t the government sue Facebook for other more damaging comments made by its users? That’s because A.G. Idrus can’t bully international giants like Facebook.


But really, why was the attorney general so frustrated that he must punish the news portal by hook or by crook? Coincidentally, on the same day, the Attorney General’s Chambers shocked the nation when it acquitted former Sabah chief minister Musa Aman of all 46 criminal charges against him involving corruption and money laundering relating to timber concessions.

Musa Aman – Former Sabah Chief Minister - Corruption

Crooked Musa Aman was first charged in November, 2018, under the previous legitimately and democratically-elected multiracial Pakatan Harapan government. He was slapped with 35 charges of receiving a total of US$63 million in Hong Kong and Singapore as an inducement for offering timber concessions in Sabah.


In March, 2019, the ex-Sabah chief minister was charged again with 16 counts of money laundering involving US$37.8 million and S$2.5 million, amounting to about RM160 million in totals. In October 2019, the prosecution dropped 5 charges of graft and made amendments to the existing 30 charges, relating to the dates, transactions and names of contractors.


But after traitor Muhyiddin toppled his own Pakatan Harapan government and seized power in March 2020 through a coup, he subsequently ordered the newly appointed A.G. Idrus to free Musa to architect a new coup to snatch the Sabah state. Attorney General Idrus Harun cited a lack of evidence for freeing Musa, but very few believed his lame story.

Musa Aman - 46 Corruption Charges Dropped - Family Ties With Attorney General Gani Patail

Naturally, as a result of the absurd decision to let a crook like Musa walks away, readers of MalaysiaKini had rained criticisms against the corrupt attorney general and the judiciary system. Unimpressed that he has been named and shamed by the public on the news portal, disgraced Idrus abused his power and threw freedom of speech and expression out of the windows.


The Judicial system could not stomach the suggestions from the comments that it was involved in corruption, did not uphold justice and had compromised its integrity. Therefore, to fight the public’s negative perception, the attorney general decided to use the nuclear option – charging MalaysiaKini in hopes to intimidate, bully, silence, suppress and oppress critics.


Interestingly, despite having provided details on the names and email addresses of the five readers who made the offensive comments to the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), the authorities deliberately chose to prosecute MalaysiaKini instead of the 5 offenders. What does this indicate, if not selective persecution?

Without the corrupt government realizing it, the exorbitant and excessive fines of RM500,000 is itself proof that not only the judiciary under the leadership of Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat lacks integrity, but also is a vengeful institution. That’s because the Attorney-General’s representatives had only requested RM200,000 fines.


Court of Appeal president Rohana Yusuf, who led the Federal Court in passing the jaw-dropping verdict has failed to explain why the fine was more than double the RM200,000 prosecutors had sought. She said the law does not tolerate contempt of court as it undermines the system of justice. Clearly, she’s in denial that the country’s judiciary system has been a laughing stock for decades.


The Federal Court’s decision has attracted the attention of foreign powers. In a joint statement, the British High Commissioner to Malaysia Mr Charles Hay and Acting Canadian High Commissioner Esther Van Nes said that they were “concerned” by the court’s verdict. They said – “People must be allowed to debate and discuss issues freely,”

Malaysia Palace of Justice

There’s a reason why the Kangaroo Court is synonymous with the country’s judiciary, a result of more than 60 years of the system being used by the Executive pillar to do all its dirty jobs. Previous A.G. Apandi Ali is a classic example of how the corrupt system was used to protect crooked former Prime Minister Najib Razak in the infamous 1MDB scandal.


If the illegitimate Muhyiddin government and the corrupt attorney general and judges think that by rushing to severely punish MalaysiaKini will intimidate the people, the bullies have underestimated the extra miles people will go to protect the freedom of speech of journalism. The crowdfunding has sent a chilling message that the evil plan has backfired spectacularly. If the powerful Trump could be brought down, who is tyrant Muhyiddin?


With the new sheriff – President Joe Biden – in town, PM Muhyiddin is more than welcome to continue attacking, censoring and shutting down journalism and freedom of speech and expression. Better still, the backdoor prime minister can always copy what the Myanmar regime likes to do – pull the plug on the internet so that the dictator can only read praises from government-controlled media.

Muhyiddin Yassin - Illegitimate Prime Minister


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Bravo!! Another tight slap.

I thought Mkini would easily raise the money by just appealing to its uncle Sorrows, all it needs do in return is to shag for regime change, oust any gomen the angmohs don’t like, easy peasy..!

Aiyaah any side in Malaysian politics, you always get one kind of running dog or the other…

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