KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 — The police said today it had commenced investigations into Al Jazeera as early as June this year, following complaints over a recently aired documentary which has been slammed for inaccurately portraying the treatment of foreigners in Malaysia during the fight against Covid-19.
Federal Criminal Investigations Department director Commissioner Datuk Huzir Mohamed said investigations into the Qatar-based news broadcaster had started on June 10 for its purportedly inaccurate coverage of the country’s treatment of undocumented migrants, with the police receiving five complaints to date.
“The baseless and one-sided news report had subsequently caused uncertainty and anxiety among the majority of the population, as if portraying the government’s unyielding approach towards the broadcasting of inaccurate news on the government’s success in containing the outbreak.
“No one will be spared from the long arm of the law if they are found to have tarnished the country’s image,” he said in a statement here.
Huzir also confirmed that the police were investigating the case under Section 500 of the Penal Code defamation, Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
Al Jazeera drew attention to the detention of migrants caught in Covid-19 red zones around Kuala Lumpur when the country was under the movement control order (MCO), which eventually led to clusters of outbreaks in detention depots.
Al Jazeera’s 101 East segment titled Locked Up in Malaysia’s Lockdown on July 3 highlighted criticism by human rights groups who accused the immigration authorities of serious violations when raids were conducted in red zones.
Following that, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador said today the police are to call up soon for questioning the Al Jazeera news channel and one of its journalists over the documentary.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday said the Al Jazeera documentary had been done with malicious intent as he slammed the blind accusations hurled against the country.
He added the programme’s claims that undocumented migrants were wrongfully detained during the enhanced movement control order (EMCO) were false, and demanded the Qatar-based channel apologise to Malaysians.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba also previously slammed the accusations made in the documentary, saying action taken under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 is meant to protect both locals and foreigners from Covid-19.
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