By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General, MP for Tanjung and assemblymen for Kampong Kolam, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesaday, 23.9.1986
Call on MCA and Gerakan ministers to protest in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting against the Deputy Home Minister’ threat and warning to Chinese newspaper and publications.
Deputy Home Affairs Minister, Datuk Megat Junid, issued a severe warning in Tapah yesterday to Chinese newspapers and publications, threatening to withdraw their publication liciences, if they carried criticism or articles which “violates the Rukunegara or undermine the people’s confidence in the Government”.
He warned the Chinese newspapers and publications not to distort the New Economic Policy, and also said he was studying the various article in the Chinese press reacting to Datuk Abdullah Ahmad’s speech in Singapore.
I find Megat Junid’s warning most shocking, indicative of the increasingly undemocratic attitude of the Barisan Nasional leadership.
Why Datuk Megat Junid is against the Chinese newspapers and Chinese publications, as his warning is only directed as them. I have come across some Bahasa Malaysia newspaper reports and articles which are highly provocative as they completely disregard the sensitivities and rightful place of the other races, languages, cultures and religions in Malaysia. What is Megat Junid doing about it?
In any event, I deplore Datuk Megat Junid’s action in picking on the Chinese newspapers and publications, and I call on the MCA and Gerakan Ministers to protest strongly at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting at the Deputy Home Minister’s threat and warning, and to get the Cabinet to warn Datuk Megat Junid not to be against Chinese newspapers and publications.
Megat Junid should realize that in picking on the Chinese newspapers and publications, threatening to withdraw their licenses, unless they ‘toe the line’ of the Barisna Nasional Government, he has not only aggravated racial polarization – but has himself become a threat to democracy and freedom in Malaysia.
There are enough laws in the country to prosecute any newspaper for sedition, defamation or subversion. A Minister or Deputy Minister who is in the habit of resorting to threats about withdrawing newspaper or publication licenses, a person who is likely to abuse his powers.
Datuk Megat Junid should not go round ‘showing off’ his powers as Deputy Home Affairs Minister. He should be humble and democratic.
Have we reached a position in Malaysia where it is all right for the newspapers to publish in verbatim the ‘seditious, disloyal and treasonable’ speech of Datuk Abdullah Ahmad in Singapore, while it is wrong for the Chinese newspapers to publish the reactions of shock and horror at such ‘seditious, disloyal and treasonable’ vies? Is Datuk Megat Junid calling up Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Star, Berita Harian to explain why they published in full Datuk Abdullah Ahmad’s Singapore speech, treating Datuk Abdullah as if he is the Prime Minister of Malaysia?