Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan today defended MalaysiaNow's report on the commotion in the Dewan Rakyat two days ago, saying its narration of events were reflective of what had transpired in the lower house.
In a statement responding to the backlash from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), Wan Saiful said it appeared as though the agency wanted to force the media to publish false reports.
He also hit out at what he called "the culture of intimidation against portals" which he said was becoming more common under Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil.
"Not just threatening, but to the extent of interfering in editorials," he added.
The episode in the Dewan Rakyat had seen a shouting match among MPs after Putrajaya MP Radzi Jidin took offence at Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim's remarks suggesting that he was involved in accusations of corruption.
Radzi's repeated demands for a retraction from Anwar were refused, while speaker Johari Abdul said there was no issue if the prime minister was convinced of what he stated.
Radzi responded by saying that he, too, could say he was convinced that Anwar, the Tambun MP, was a sodomiser, believed to be a reference to the PKR leader's previous sodomy convictions.
"If he talks about confidence, I say I'm confident that Tambun is a sodomiser. I'm confident that Tambun is a sodomiser," Radzi had said, before fellow opposition MPs from Perikatan Nasional staged a walkout in protest of the speaker's refusal to demand a retraction from Anwar.
MCMC subsequently demanded that MalaysiaNow take down or amend two reports, "Blok PN keluar, 'Tambun peliwat' bergema di Dewan Rakyat selepas PM serang Radzi" and the English version, "Pandemonium, walkout after PM refuses to retract accusation against Putrajaya MP", as well as the Twitter posts on the two articles.
It gave MalaysiaNow two hours to do so, saying the portal would otherwise face "further enforcement actions".
It said the articles "do not reflect the true context of the speech in question", adding that the headlines were also "disrespectful and insulting". However, it did not provide its own version of the events.
Wan Saiful, a member of the Bersatu Supreme Council, said MCMC should not be "an errand boy to Anwar" to restrict media freedom.
"If this continues, press freedom in Malaysia will head towards darkness," he added.
He also said that his complaint to MCMC dated July 12 had yet to receive any response.
"But if you touch on Anwar Ibrahim, the speed at which MCMC works cannot be beat," he said.
"How are people expected to have confidence if the double standards are so obvious?"
Radzi meanwhile said that Pakatan Harapan's "Kita Boleh" document during the run-up to the 15th general election had stated its commitment to ensuring media freedom and the freedom of speech.
"But when they are in the government, even media reports on what happened in Parliament proceedings are censored.
"Is this guaranteeing media freedom?"