Malaysia: Government minister intimidates Malaysiakini reporter

A Malaysiakini journalist was harassed and intimidated by Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Yusof following a series of racial comments during a press conference and posted to his personal and professional Facebook pages. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the behaviour towards the journalist and demands an official apology from the minister.

Screenshot of the video on Minister Redzuan's facebook.

During an interview between Redzuan and several reporters on Monday, August 19, Ng Xiang Yi, a journalist of Malaysiakini asked the minister to elaborate on his previous claims that the Malays have compromised too much with “racists” and urged all to adhere to the Federal Constitution.

 

Redzuan is one of the leaders of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Malaysian United Indigeneous Party. In earlier statements Redzuan had made comments about the Constitution and Malay people, noting that failing to understand the constitution would give rise to racism. In an earlier statement he also said that Malays have compromised too much, in reference to objections of the implementation of Malay-Arabic calligraphy or khat in the Standard Four Bahasa Malaysia textbook.

Following the question from Ng, Redzuan gave a short answer to reiterate his statement that Malays in Malaysia are very accommodative and all ethnic groups have to know the constitution. In a videofrom the interview, it appears that the minister then focuses on Ng and asks, "I would like to ask you, what is our constitution? What is our Rukun Negara? Do you know?" Ng responded that she did know the Constitution, on three occasions, however Redzuan looks at the other reporters and concludes that Ng does not know the Constitution.

The interview was recorded and published by Malaysia Gazette on its YouTube channel with the caption highlighted the ethnicity of the reporter. The caption is: "TERKINI: 'Menteri terkejut' ada wartawan bangsa Cina tak tahu Perlembagaan Malaysia" (Latest: 'Minister shocked' that Chinese reporter doesn't know the Malaysian Constitution). The minister then re-uploaded the clip to his official page with the same caption, and his personal page. As of Wednesday, the video on minister official page has been shared by around 3,500 times and received 945 comments.

The IFJ said: “A journalist should never be questioned due to their race, ethnicity or gender. It is unacceptable that Minister Redzuan thought it was okay for him to question Nq on her knowledge of the Constitution simply because of her ethnicity. Journalists must be allowed to work without fear of intimidation or harassment. We demand an apology from Minister Redzuan.We urge the government in Malaysia to respect journalists’ rights and to adhere impartiality principle.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on 
+61 2 9333 0918

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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