GEORGETOWN, Sept 3 -Police have launched an investigation against a news portal and its Penang-based reporter – the latest probe following a slew of sedition and criminal defamation charges filed against opposition leaders and a vocal law professor. State police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi (pic) said Susan Loone, a Malaysiakini reporter, and the portal will be investigated under the Sedition Act for publishing allegedly seditious material. The report was said to be related to a police crackdown on Penang’s Volunteer Patrol Unit (PPS). “We have yet to call the reporter but will investigate the case under the Sedition Act,” he said in George Town. Ten police reports have been lodged against online news portal Malaysiakini and Loone over the news report which was said to have defamed the police.
Perkasa and 13 other NGOs that called themselves “The Coalition of Penang Malay Representatives” lodged the reports at the Jalan Pantai police station in Penang about 6pm yesterday. The NGOs urged the police to investigate the article headlined “Disoal siasat selama 4 jam, dakwa dilayan seperti penjenayah” published on Monday on Malaysiakini’s Bahasa Malaysia site. The news report is a translation of Loone’s article, “Exco man grilled for four hours, treated like a criminal”, which was published on the same day. Rahim said there was a standard operating procedure that the police abide by for every arrest, which included taking fingerprints and photographs of the person under investigation. He said whether Phee Boon Poh was happy or not with the treatment he had received while he was detained along with other PPS members recently was the executive councillor’s personal view.
“But I feel my force had given the best treatment,” he said . Asked if he has any advice for journalists in light of the sedition-related reports, Rahim said there was a code of ethics for journalists that they should follow. He said among others, journalists should refrain from writing about sensitive issues Asked if Loone had been called for questioning, he said: “We just received the reports, and haven’t called. Just wait a while.” Rahim also said the investigation papers on the PPS were ready and would be submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action.
Meanwhile, on the Molotov cocktail attack at Lim’s house on August 30, Rahim said the CCTV recordings had been sent to the forensic department at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, the Penang state executive council at its meeting this morning agreed to help defend Malaysiakini and Loone. Chief minister Lim Guan Eng told the press after the meeting that Loone was only doing her job as a journalist. “We are ready to give help and support, including legal help, if needed, to enable her to defend herself and to ensure she is able to perform her work well,” he said.