Former Umno leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan is asking whether attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali is beyond criticism after KiniTV and its directors are to be charged for reporting on the former's press conference.
In the press conference, Khairuddin had criticised Apandi's handling of the 1MDB matter, calling him "haprak" (worthless) and demanded that he resign.
"Apandi is a government officer. The position of the attoney-general is part of the civil service.
"Is it in the constitution and law that I cannot call the attorney-general 'haprak'? Is he above the law?
"Does it mean that I cannot criticise him at all?" he said in a statement today.
Khairuddin revealed that he was also being investigated for the press conference he held, a video of which was uploaded by KiniTV.
However, Khairuddin said he was being investigated under the Sedition Act.
Khairuddin said he was puzzled at how his press conference could be seditious.
Meanwhile, Padang Serai MP N Surendran said the charge against KiniTV and its directors marked a "black day for journalism in Malaysia".
"No country can be considered a proper or functioning democracy, if it fails to defend and uphold freedom of the press.
"The AG should urgently review the decision to institute these prosecutions and put on hold the charges pending the review," he said in a statement today.
Surendran added the High Court has jurisdiction to summarily strike down the charges for unconstitutionality without the need for any trial.
"KiniTV and its directors merely carried out their function as journalists/broadcasters in reporting the contents of Khairudin's press conference.
"The right of KiniTV to report what was said at the press conference is protected by Article 10 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and expression, including freedom of the press.
"Any kind of criminal charges brought against KiniTV and its directors would be unconstitutional and hence void for illegality," he said.
Earlier today, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) delivered six writs of summonses to Malaysiakini's office in Petaling Jaya.
It said Malaysiakini’s sister company KiniTV and its two directors are to be charged in the Special Cyber Court in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.
This is for uploading two videos that are "offensive in nature with intent to annoy another person" under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).
KiniTV directors Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran will also be charged under Section 244(1) of the CMA, which carries the same penalty upon conviction.
Section 244(1) holds directors and other senior officers of a company liable for offences committed by the company that is punishable under the CMA.- Mkini