Police to question journalist over Labour Day raid on migrants in Masjid India

Journalist Tashny Sukumaran will be questioned by police on Wednesday over an article she had written for the South China Morning Post on the raids on migrant communities under Covid-19 lockdown. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, May 3, 2020.

JOURNALIST Tashny Sukumaran will be questioned at Bukit Aman on Wednesday over her report on Friday’s raid by the Immigration Department on hundreds of undocumented migrants at buildings under Covid-19 lockdown.

Tashny, who is a correspondent for the South China Morning Post said she is being investigated under Section 504 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA).

The Penal Code section pertains to intentional insult and provocation that could cause breach of public peace, while the CMA deals with sharing of “offensive and menacing content”.

“Please don’t come to Bukit Aman – let’s practice social distancing. 

“I have aired my concerns re: social distancing to the inspector and he has promised to use a larger room so that all of us can maintain distance,” Tashny said on Twitter today, adding her thanks to those who had sent her messages of support.

In her article on the Labour Day raid, Tashny had written that hundreds of migrants were rounded up from the Selangor Mansion, Malayan Mansion and Menara City One buildings, which are under enhanced movement-control orders (EMCO) as they are Covid-19 hotspots.

She reported on how social distancing was not observed among those detained, and cited human rights activists who said that children had been among those picked up.

The offence under the Penal Code is liable to a prison term of up to two years, or a fine, or both, while the offence under the CMA carries a maximum fine of RM50,000 or a jail term not exceeding one year, or both.

The raid has sparked outcry from lawyers and both local and international rights groups who warned of a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

They have also slammed the government for reneging on an earlier promise not to take action on undocumented migrants during the MCO so as to encourage them to come forward for Covid-19 testing.

Director-general of health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday said more than 500 undocumented migrants were rounded up, and added that all people, both legal and illegal, in the EMCO buildings had been swabbed for Covid-19 three times, with those testing positive separated for medical treatment. – May 3, 2020.

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