M’kini Accused of ‘Twisting’ Zahid’s ‘Best Not to Vote’ Remark, but There’s Proof

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Malaysiakini was accused of breaching the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, which came into effect last week.

Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) deputy president Huan Cheng Guan has accused Malaysiakini of twisting caretaker deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s remarks concerning Malaysians working in Singapore returning home to vote in the May 9 general election.

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

Accusing the news portal of being “rude” (biadap), the PCM leader urged the police and Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to act against the news portal.

In a statement forwarded by the Special Affairs Division (Jasa), Huan said the article titled “Best not to vote if you can’t get leave, Zahid tells M’sians in S’pore” gives the impression that the government does not encourage Malaysians working in Singapore to return to vote.

He also claimed that the headline of the article intended to stir hatred towards the government among Malaysians.

“Zahid’s statement is clear, which is that it is up to Malaysians working in Singapore whether they intended to return to vote or otherwise. The government is always open on this matter because this country practices democracy and everyone has a right to vote,” he added.

Huan also accused Malaysiakini of breaching the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, which came into effect last week.

Malaysiakini’s article on Zahid is based on an audio recording of what he told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Kluang, Johor, last Friday.

Below is the question posed to the caretaker deputy prime minister and his answer in verbatim:

Reporter: Datuk Seri, your advice to Malaysians, especially Johoreans working in Singapore, to come back, to take time off, to vote. What’s your advice?

Zahid: Kita telah mengumumkan cuti umum khas pada hari mengundi terpulang dan terserah kepada mereka untuk balik mengundi atau sebaliknya.

Dan… pada hemat saya, pihak kerajaan tidak adamenolak ataupun menggalakan, itu kerana hakperibadi untuk mengundi, jadi terserah pada mereka. Tetapi jika majikan negara berkenaan tidakmengizinkan , maka saya fikir cara yang baik, yang paling baik, jangan balik mengundi la.

(We have announced a public holiday on polling day, it is up to them whether they want to return to vote or otherwise… To me, the government does not discourage or encourage, this is because it is a personal right to vote, so it is up to them. But if the employer in the said country does not permit [them to take leave], I think the best way is not to return to vote.)

The audio recording of the abovementioned conversation:

– Malaysiakini