Saifuddin hasn’t addressed Finas licence issue for social media users, says PKR MP

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil says the issue would not have prolonged if minister Saifuddin Abdullah had given a clear answer in Parliament.

PETALING JAYA: Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s response to the backlash sparked by his statement earlier today is merely an attempt to mollify the anger of social media users, said a PKR MP.

Fahmi Fadzil, who is Lembah Pantai MP, said the communications and multimedia minister had failed to address the crux of the issue, which is whether a Finas licence is required for videos by social media users.

“It is unfortunate that his statement does not clearly state if social media users need a Finas licence for platforms like TikTok, YouTube and others,” he said.

Earlier today, Saifuddin told the Dewan Rakyat that all film producers and media agencies, including individual media outlets, must apply for a licence from the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) before filming.

The rule, he said, also applied to social media platforms.

This led to a flurry of brickbats from netizens and Saifuddin’s predecessor, Gobind Singh, who called it impractical.

Saifuddin has since clarified that the government had no intention to use the Finas Act 1981 — which requires a licence for filming — to stifle freedom on social media.

He also said that a report based on his response to the Kluang MP, Wong She Qi, gave the wrong impression.

Saifuddin also clarified that he was merely explaining the Finas Act 1981 or Act 244, which had been used by previous administrations, namely Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan.

But Fahmi, who is PKR communications director, said if Saifuddin had been clear with his response to Wong’s supplementary question on whether social media users needed a Finas licence, the issue would not have become prolonged.

“The answer sought was simple, a yes or no. Yet, this was not answered.”

Fahmi went on to say that Saifuddin’s latest gaffe was his third strike after retracting rights activist Eric Paulsen’s appointment to the ministry’s consultative council and cancelling an order to award the 5G telecommunications spectrum to several firms.

“It’s time the minister resigns,” he said.