by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Wednesday, 22nd January 1992:
Anwar Ibrahim has espoused a new-fangled theory of press freedom where a press is free if there is no criticism of the government
The speech by the Finance Minister and heir-designate to Dr.Mahathir Mohamed as Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, at the opening of the $64 million New Straits Times building, has finally crystallised the theory and doctrine of the UMNO leadership on press freedom.
What Anwar Ibrahim was espousing yesterday is a n-fangled theory of press freedom, where the press if free if there is no criticism of the government.
Many Malaysians must have felt a great sadness at the speech by Anwar Ibrahim, for his concepts on press freedom during his days as ABIM President is diametrically opposite to his views on press freedom today, when he is a heart-beat away from the office of Prime Minister.
From his ABIM past, Anwar Ibrahim would have been even more critical of some of the press today, which operate as if they are government gazettes which had been privatised.
Instead, Anwar is holding up these ‘privatised’ government gazettes as the model for the ‘free press’ in Malaysia.
What is even more dangerous ,Anwar Ibrahim and Dr.Mahathir Mohamed would be preaching this new-fangled theory of press freedom at international forums to champion the rights of undemocratic and authoritarion regimes in the Third World to suppress open, free and criticial mass media in their countries.
Anwar Ibrahim’s jaundiced and prejudiced views against the Rocket is understandable.
The important question is that Anwar Ibrahim as ABIM President would have criticised as unfair and undemocratic any government action to ban the Rocket from being published and sold to the public by restricting it only to DAP members.
But today, Anwar the heir-designate to Dr.Mahathir, has become the stoutest defender for the government which has abuses its powers by restricting the public sale and circulation of the Rocket, after it had operated as a public publication for 25 years.
I would like to ask Anwar Ibrahim whether his new-fangled theory that a press is free if there is no criticism against the government also means that another criteria of his ‘free press’ is that it does not criticise the government but only the Opposition, and does not allow the Opposition any chance to reply by blacking out all its speeches and statements altogether.