Pakatan hopes media will continue to be fair, and not report fake news.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng will be filing a defamation suit against Umno youth leader Wan Muhammad Azri or better known under the moniker “Papa Azri”, “Sir Azri” or “Papa Gomo” among others.
In a press statement today, the Bagan MP accused Azri and supporters of Barisan Nasional (BN), Umno and PAS for spreading false news against himself and his son.
“A national Umno Youth leader using the name, “Papa Azri”, had started off this malicious lie by stating that I flew to Singapore on 29 February, after my son was hauled up at Singapore Airport for bringing in RM2 million cash without proper declaration.
“This news then went viral through the BN and Umno support groups, especially their internet websites.
“Even the Media Chinese International Limited (MCIL) got into the act, in their enthusiasm to drive the knife in against a Pakatan Harapan leader, when one of their newspapers published the news without any professional verification,” Lim said.
MCIL comprises of vernacular newspapers Sin Chew Daily, Guang Ming Daily, China Press and Nanyang Siang Pau.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador has since denied the reports of arrest and classified it as false.
On that day, Lim said he was in Kuala Lumpur trying to “defend” the 2018 public mandate.
“I hope that the police can take stern action and arrest the perpetrators of such false news that hurt innocent lives, to protect innocent Malaysians. My family is furious for such shameless targeting of our innocent children, who are not in politics.
“Will Umno act against their leaders and supporters for such unethical, immoral and illegal conduct? Will the new unelected government also act against such unethical, immoral and illegal behaviour?” he questioned.
Lim then lambasted the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration accusing the ruling coalition of trying to blindside their supporters with this fake news as a cover-up of their incompetence in managing the ongoing economic and health crisis.
As for Papa Azri, Lim said the Umno Youth leader had previously targeted his other son.
He said Papa Azri had then accused the son of sexually assaulting his female classmate and even showed a photograph of the alleged female victim.
“She was a chess champion from Hong Kong who had never met my son.”
The ousted finance minister accused the PN backdoor administration of not representing all Malaysians from all communities based on the social media post by their supporters on the matter who had used “disgusting racial sentiments” in their writings.
“As a PH political leader, I expect to face such bullying of lies, falsehoods and threats from my opponents.
“But my political opponents who are now in power, have shown themselves without any shame, bereft of moral or humane values and upbringing by mercilessly targeting my innocent children,” Lim said.
Separately, Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau this afternoon posted a note of apology on its website over a news report it had uploaded early yesterday morning.
Nanyang said the report it had published yesterday related to a purported arrest of a senior PH leader’s son over the alleged bringing in of RM2 million into Singapore, noting that it had not identified the purported leader or political party but said that the report was later used by others online to attack the related person.
In its note of apology this afternoon, Nanyang said it has since found that the report was published as a result of misjudgement and that it has removed this report from its website, further apologising to the affected person and all its readers.
Controversial blog Malaysia Today had quoted the Nanyang article and claimed that the man in the case was the DAP secretary-general’s son.
The report said a “Tan Sri” was also involved in the incident and that senior members of PH had gone to Singapore seeking details on the alleged arrest and seizure.
Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan (PH) today condemned the spreading of rumours and false reports, urging the media not to abuse the freedom that it had been granted and use it for political purposes.
“Report the news responsibly based on facts and not on slander from those who are now being fed by kleptocrats,” the former ruling pact said in a statement today.
It also urged the media and the public to safeguard their freedom to express themselves but not report fake news.
In a statement released by the coalition’s secretariat, it urged the media not to bow down to the whims and fancies of politicians by printing slanderous news at their behest.
The news on Lim’s son that went viral, was widely shared on social media till it got the attention of the police.
Upon investigation, it was found that the news was fake and generated by individuals wanting to tarnish Lim’s reputation as he is DAP’s secretary-general and a member of the Opposition now.
“Even after our Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador denied that any arrests were made, still there are efforts to spread this slanderous news in order to tarnish Lim Guan Eng, our former finance minister’s, reputation,” the statement read.
“PH would like to remind the people not to spread information that has not been verified and we urge the authorities, including the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission and the Royal Malaysian Police, to investigate and take the necessary action against these individuals.
“We also hope that the media will not disregard the freedom of press they’ve enjoyed thus far and return to the old ways of giving in to the whims and fancies of certain politicians.
“We hope you will continue to report the news in a responsible manner, based on facts and not slander that’s generated by those being fed by kleptocrats.”