Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera has released a 25.50 minute-long documentary titled “Locked up in Malaysia’s lockdown” regarding undocumented migrant workers in Malaysia.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the allegations of the Malaysian authorities’ discrimination against undocumented migrants was incorrect, saying that measures taken to detect Covid-19 was applied to all regardless of whether they were citizens or not.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said the authorities had merely acted in line with the public’s wish for all living in Malaysia to comply with local laws, including for foreigners to have the necessary permit and valid documents to be allowed to work here.
Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has also said that the Al Jazeera documentary was malicious and had carried false allegations of purported wrongful detainment of illegal migrants in areas under that were placed under the enhanced movement control order (EMCO), pointing out that the same movement restrictions and government-paid Covid-19 screening during the EMCO applied to both locals and foreigners alike.
Ismail Sabri had also clarified that the Malaysian government gave the same treatment to foreigners regardless of whether they had official documentation or were without proper documents, by screening and treating them for Covid-19.
But he also pointed out that undocumented migrants that tested negative for Covid-19 or recover would still be undocumented and would be treated as such by authorities, while also accusing Al Jazeera of fabricating lies and clarified that migrant children were not handcuffed but were instead kept with their parents in detention centres.
The police have initiated investigations over the Al Jazeera documentary, with Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador saying today that police would be calling up those involved in the documentary for further questioning.
The Immigration Department’s Director-General Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud warned yesterday that foreign nationals who make inaccurate statements aimed at “damaging Malaysia’s image” will face possible revocation of their passes.
Khairul Dzaimee said the Al Jazeera documentary on immigration operations during the movement control order was inaccurate, pointing out that the Malaysian government had provided free treatment to 773 foreigners in immigration depots who tested positive for Covid-19 and had been praised by foreign embassies for doing so.
All parties involved in its production would be investigated under Section 500 of the Penal Code for defamation, Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.
It is now believed that the Qatari Ambassador in Malaysia will be summoned over by the Malaysian government over this act of betrayal considering the amicable relationship that both countries are having. Al Jazeera has been notoriously known as a biased media network that puts Qatar’s interest over everything, and have been Qatar’s weapon in waging war in the digital world.
If this would to happen, it won’t be the first time a Qatari ambassador in a nation would be called, as other countries has done so, such as Jordan, Sudan, USA and Nepal for atrocities that Qatar has done in their country and also globally.
Malaysia would best to reflect on this act from Qatar and rethink on how they should actually treat a country who claims to be a friend yet stabs them in the back.
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