Eric Paulsen Removed from Ministry’s Council After Pressure from Umno, Pas Leaders

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Though no reason was given for Paulsen’s removal, it is believed it was attributed to Paulsen’s alleged anti-Islam views.

Human rights lawyer Eric Paulsen was sacked as a member of the Communications and Multimedia Ministry’s consultative council following pressure from certain political leaders.

In a statement today, the ministry said the move to drop Paulsen will not affect the functions of the council.

“The ministry informs that lawyer Eric Paulsen is no longer a member of the Communications and Multimedia Consultative Council.

“(The council) will continue in its role to discuss and advise the ministry on approaches and policies pertaining to communications and multimedia, in line with the ministry’s goals,” it said.

The council was set up on June 9 to advise the ministry on the government’s media and communication policies.

PAS and Umno leaders had said that Paulsen was not suitable to be part of the council, accusing him of making sensitive remarks against Islamic authorities.

The statement did not give a reason for Paulsen’s removal, but it is believed that the removal was attributed to Paulsen’s alleged anti-Islam views.

Yesterday, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki accused Paulsen of being known for statements that allegedly insulted Islam and Muslims as a whole and urged the Minister to clarify the basis of Paulsen’s appointment.

Asyraf said if the appointment was done based on Paulsen’s background in law and human rights, there were many others with similar credentials who are more moderate in their views and with a better understanding of the limitations on freedom of expression.

PAS youth deputy chief and Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari said Paulsen promoted liberalism, hedonism and the LGBT lifestyle that were against Islamic principles.

Paulsen had been a target of the Islamist party after he said the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) had promoted extremist views through the Friday prayer sermon speech texts in 2015.

Yusof Mat Isa

Aside from PAS and Umno, calls against Paulsen’s new role were also made by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia counterparts.

Bersatu supreme council member Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen also echoed attacks against Paulsen’s allegedly extremist views that purportedly insulted Islam.

Meanwhile, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin said neither he nor the ministry secretary-general was consulted over the appointment of the former Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director.

Instead, he said Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah made the decision on his own.

Prior to this, Paulsen was in January appointed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry under the then-Harapan government as the new representative of Malaysia to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) for the 2019-2021 term.