Al Jazeera says Malaysia rejected visas for Aussie staff

Malaysia has refused to renew the work visas of staff members Drew Ambrose (pictured) and Jenni Henderson.
Malaysia has refused to renew the work visas of staff members Drew Ambrose (pictured) and Jenni Henderson.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Broadcaster Al Jazeera said on Thursday (Aug 6) that Malaysian authorities have refused to renew the work visas of two of its Australian journalists, just days after the network's Kuala Lumpur office was raided by police.

The Qatar-based network is being investigated by officials over its "Locked up in Malaysia's Lockdown" programme, which was critical of the treatment of migrant workers during the coronavirus epidemic.

Angered by the story, the authorities last month questioned Al Jazeera staff, with police seizing two computers from their office on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera English managing director Giles Trendle confirmed in a statement that Malaysia had refused to renew the work visas of staff members Drew Ambrose and Jenni Henderson.

The company did not provide any further details at this point and immigration officials could not be reached for comment.

In an interview with AFP on Wednesday, Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the investigation was being carried out "very professionally".

Officials are also seeking to deport a Bangladesh national for speaking to the network in the documentary.

Malaysia said the documentary tarnished the country's image.

Thousands of migrants from poorer countries in the regions - including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar - travel to the South-east Asian nation in search of better work prospects.

Observers have raised concerns over the country's worsening media climate since a scandal-mired party seized power as part of a coalition earlier this year after the collapse of a reformist government.