Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 24th July 2015 (Friday):
The witch hunt against critics of 1MDB made Najib’s promise to turn Malaysia into the best democracy a bad check
The suspension of The Edge publication did not come as a surprise as UMNO government has a bad record in press freedom. This latest move only proved that the Najib regime is desperate to silence its critics and is in the brink of collapse.
If the report made against Prime Minister Najib Razak by The Edge is not true, he should bring the publication to court to clear his name. Yet, both the PM and the authority chose a dubious method and an easy way out by flexing government’s muscle to shut down the publication.
The reason for the suspension given by the Home Ministry is totally unacceptable and raised further questions. It is incumbent on the government to clarify which part of the news report was “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest”? Otherwise the high handed action will be seen as the gagging of press freedom, and a cover-up attempt on the part of the government in regards to the 1MDB scandal.
Questions will arise, is 1MDB an untouchable entity? Is reporting the scandal an offense? 1MDB fiercest critics such as opposition MPs such as Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli have been barred from overseas travel. Now the Edge has been suspended. Who is next in the witch hunt against critics of 1MDB? The curious thing is, no such high handed action was taken against the alleged perpetrators despite evidences being highlighted by various parties including former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir and renowned publication, Wall Street Journal.
Prime Minister Najib should not bury his head in the sand anymore. He should instead come forward to clarify what his role in the 1MDB scandal and explain where the money has gone? He must realise that the suspension and the ongoing attempts to gag critics will not silent Malaysians who are seeking the truth over this scandal.
The 26th ASEAN Summit is just around the corner and Malaysia is the chairman this year. The 1MDB crisis and the ensuing witch hunt against dissidents not only make us look bad internationally, but also bankrupted all the promises made by Najib/UMNO regime. Malaysia will not become the best democracy under Najib/UMNO rule. On the contrary, Malaysia is now in a most deplorable state where democracy is almost suspended to protect wrongdoers.
Wong Shu Qi