Press Conference Statement (2) by Parliamentary Opposition Leader and DAP Secretary General, Lim Kit Siang, at PJ DAP Hqrs on Friday, 24.8.1984 at 11.30 a.m.
Enforcement of Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 a grave threat to ‘freedom of press’ and to ‘freedom of speech and expression’
The enforcement of Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 with effect from Sept. 1 is a grave threat to ‘freedom of press’ and to ‘freedom of speech and expression’.
The wide powers granted to the Minister of Home Affairs to clamp down on publications provided in the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 would lead Malaysia towards a more undermocratic direction.
The new hefty rates for publishing permits, as $3,000 for dailies, $2,000 for publications issued five or six times a week, $1,000 for those published two or four times a week; $800 for weekly publications; $500 for those published two or three times a month; $400 for monthly publications; and $300 for publications with frequency of less than once a month, are highly prohibitive and would have a most adverse effect in encouraging a free press as well as promoting freedom of speech and expression.
Firstly, the rates make no distinction between publications with a huge circulation and those struggling to keep alive. For instance, dailies with circulations of 200,000 a day and making millions of dollars of profit a year would have to pay the same rate as a daily struggling to fight oof the creditors with a circulation of 20,000 a day.
Secondly, publications which previously did not have to pay such rates, like political party organs, would now have to pay these rates on par with commercial publications.
The DAP calls for cancellation of levies on political party organs, the reduction of the rates for publishing permits and to make a distinction between publications based on their circulations.
Has Radzi become the Chief Enforcement Officer of Golden Star Video BHD?
Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Radzi Sheik Ahmad, led a team to spot-check video centres to check whether their video-tapes have certificate, warning that even video fans caught renting tapes without the B certificate could be fined up to $10,000.
Isn’t there more important things for the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs to do than to go round checking video-centres?
It is public knowledge that there has been a long-standing fight between Golden Star Video Bhd. and Video-tape Dealers Association of Malaysia over copy-right question. The police had been accused of siding and helping Golden Star Video Bhd. in this copyright dispute and now the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs is acting as if he had become the Chief Enforcement Officer of Golden Star Video Bhd.
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs and the entire Malaysian Police Force should not get involved in this copyright dispute, for Golden Star Video Bhd. has ample civil remedied to assert its copyright which it claimed it possess, although this is disputed by the Video-Tape Dealers Association.
I deplore the threat by Radzi that the police would raid private homes to search for video-tapes without B certificate which they had rented from video-tape dealers. Is Radzi trying to turn Malaysia into a police state, with the entire police force raiding private homes throughout the country to find whether the video tapes they rented had B certificate or not? Again, haven’t Radzi and the Police force in Malaysia more important things to do?
If Radzi wants to get into the direct act of the various departments of his Ministry, he should lead raids on gangster dens, go to the Johore and Malacca coast to prevent illegal Indonesia immigrants from landing every night, or get involved in smashing drug syndicates. Why pick on video-tape dealers and the video viewer in their private homes?
I find it very disturbing that after the recent Cabinet reshuffle, government leaders seem to be preoccupied with trivial and peripheral matters, ignoring the great and weighty problems which confront Malaysia, whether in the political, economic, educational, cultural, or other nation building arena.