Suspending The Edge Weekly And The Edge Financial Daily For Exposing The RM42 Billion 1MDB Financial Scandal Signals That ‎Malaysia Is Moving Back To the Dark Ages Of Oppression, Corruption And Entitlement Instead Of Looking Towards A Brighter Tomorrow Of Freedom, Transparency And Accountability.

Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 25.7.2015.

The Home Ministry’s 3-months suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for exposing the RM42 Billion 1MDB financial scandal signals that ‎Malaysia is moving back to the dark ages of oppression, corruption and entitlement instead of looking towards a brighter tomorrow of freedom, transparency and accountability. Not just human rights and media activists have condemned such draconian measures, even former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, prominent businessman like Air Asia boss, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, and CIMB Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, the brother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, have condemned such suspension.

Nazir even called the publications a pillar of the business community that had played a big role in keeping the public “informed, honest and competitive”. However Nazir is correct in stressing that legal action for defamation should be taken in court if there is wrong or false reporting.
The Home Ministry said that the publications’ coverage of 1MDB 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”. Clearly publishing exposes of questionable financial misconduct is unacceptable as compared to covering up or not highlighting scandalous conduct as in 1MDB financial scandal.

If exposing financial scandal and wrongdoing is wrong and merited closure of these publications, then the Washington Post would have been closed by the US government for exposing the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon. Instead both the papers and the journalists exposing the scandal were lionized and feted as heroes for press freedom and patriots of the country.

Similarly both publications should be lionized and not punished for daring to expose the 1MDB financial scandal based on documentation that other BN-controlled media dare not do.

Both the Penang state government and the DAP wishes to condemn this suspension that is not only undemocratic but serves to unravel and reverse any gains achieved in fighting corruption and improving our standing with the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. For failing to stand up for a full accounting and demand action against wrongdoers in the 1MDB scandal, Ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low and Datuk Seri Idris Jala should resign to salvage their tattered reputation for not daring to demand that the Prime Minister take leave in the midst of investigations over The Wall Street Journal’s allegations of USD700 million deposited in Datuk Seri Najib’s personal bank account.

The Home Ministry should reverse their ban of both publications immediately. Paul Low should also be condemned for failing to uphold the standards of transparency he had advocated when he was Transparency International Malaysia President. Are the perks and privileges of Ministerial office so prized that he is willing to trade in his honour and dignity?

LIM GUAN ENG

槟州首席部长林冠英于2015年7月25日在槟城乔治市光大发表的声明:

吊销揭发一马发展有限公司420亿令吉财务丑闻的 《The Edge周刊》及《The Edge 财经日报》,显示马来西亚回到遭压逼、腐败及霸权的黑暗时代,而不是迈向更自由、透明及问责制的更美好的明天。

内政部吊销揭发一马发展有限公司420亿令吉财务丑闻的《The Edge 周刊》及《The Edge 财经日报》3个月的出版准证,显示马来西亚回到遭压逼、腐败及霸权的黑暗时代,而不是迈向更自由、透明及问责制的更美好的明天。政府此举不只遭人权分子及媒体人严厉谴责,连前首相敦马哈迪医生、著名商人如亚洲航空老板丹斯里东尼费南德斯、首相胞弟兼土著联昌银行主席拿督斯里纳西尔拉萨也谴责这项吊销行动。

纳西尔甚至称有关的出版社为商业社会的支柱,并让民众能够获取资讯,是一份诚实、有竞争力,扮演重要角色的出版社。纳西尔更强调,若该媒体出现错误或虚假报导,那就应该采取法律行动,以诽谤罪名起诉。

内政部长称该刊物在针对一马发展有限公司的报导,“损害或可能破坏公共次序次序、安全或可能引起舆论恐慌,或可能会损害公众和国家利益。”很明显的,揭发充满疑问的财务丑闻比隐瞒一马发展有限公司丑闻更不能被接受。

若揭发财务丑闻及弊端是错误,并且会导致这些出版社遭到关闭的话,那美国的《华盛顿邮报》早就因报导水门案导致尼克逊总统下台而遭美国政府关闭了。反之,这家媒体及其揭发弊端的记者更被列为新闻自由及爱国的英雄。

同样的,这两家揭发一马发展有限公司财务丑闻的媒体,并不应该因勇于揭发弊端而遭到对付,反之他们应该被封为英雄,因为他们揭发了遭国阵控制的媒体所不敢揭发的丑闻 。

槟州政府及民主行动党谴责内政部是项吊销出版的行动,因此举不只不民主, 更是对早前一切就肃贪方面的努力开倒车的行动,也无助于我国在与国际透明组织努力改善贪污印象指数的排名。首相署部长拿督刘权胜及拿督斯里依德利斯理应就没能要求严厉对付在一马丑闻中的涉及者,包括不敢要求首相在《华尔街时报》报导共有7亿美元汇入纳吉户口一案调查工作展开之际请假,应双双引咎辞职,以挽救他们的声誉。

内政部应立刻撤销对这两家刊物的吊销令。刘胜权因无能坚持捍卫其就任马来西亚国际透明组织主席时所倡导的透明度而被谴责。难道当部长的福利和特权,足以让他典当了毕身荣誉和尊严?

林冠英

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