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Saifuddin Apologises Over 'Straightforward' Answer On FINAS Licence Controversy

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah speaks during a YouTube and cinema workshop event on Sunday, 9 August.

Cover image via Astro Awani & Economic Times

Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has apologised over a statement in regard to the National Film Development Corporation (FINAS) licencing issue

His apology comes more than two weeks after he told the Dewan Rakyat that everyone in the country requires a filming licence from FINAS before making any type of film.

"As a minister, I should apologise, because when I replied about the issue in the Dewan Rakyat on 23 July, I did so in a very straightforward manner," said the Minister.

"Apparently, politicians cannot be straight. When one is straight, he gets hammered."

He made the apology during the launch of the Southern Zone YouTube and Community Cinema Skills Workshop at Iskandar Malaysia Studios, Johor yesterday, 9 August, reported Bernama.

Saifuddin said the government will continue allowing the public to freely use platforms such as YouTube and TikTok

"Don't worry, no action will be taken. That freedom is fully guaranteed," he said and received a round of applause from a crowd of over 200 attendees.

Saifuddin related that the grant of freedom in content creation came following his divisive statement in the Parliament.

He said he brought the issue to the Cabinet and the government decided to uphold social media users' rights to share content online without a FINAS licence. 

However, Saifuddin urges everyone to practise self-regulation so that their work would not touch on "any sensitivities"

While the government is currently working on amending creative industry-related laws, the Multimedia Minister said, "Self-regulation is much more important than any laws that the government can gazette", reported New Straits Times.

"We have to remember that the film and technology industries progress at a rapid pace. In the end, any laws will be left behind and always have to catch up with these development."

Watch Saifuddin's apology on the issue here:

On 23 July, Saifuddin said Malaysians require to own a FINAS licence worth RM50,000 before one can post videos online:

However, he backpaddled on his statement a day later: