Megat Junid’s explanation cannot hide the fact that the government’s restrictions on Rocket, Harakah and Mingguan Waktu are grave violations of the freedom of the press in Malaysia


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Penang on Thursday, February 6, 1992:

Megat Junid’s explanation cannot hide the fact that the government’s restrictions on Rocket, Harakah and Mingguan Waktu are grave violations of the freedom of the press in Malaysia

The Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob, said yesterday that an American organisation, the Pen American Centre;s Freedom to Write Committee, had protested to the Prime Minister against Malaysia’s violations of the freedom of the press in Malaysia. Pen American Centre has 2,500 members and is committed to freedom of expression.

According to Megat Junid, the protest letter, co-signed by the Pen American Centre president Edmund Keeley and committee chairman Rose Styron, said that the Government’s action of restricting the circulation of the Rocket and Harakah and the ban on Migguan Waktu weekly were attempts to control the press and were in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Deputy Home Minister could not give Pen American Centre, just as the Government had not been able to give all Malaysians, a satisfactory explanation for the government’s actions against the Rocket, Harakah and Mingguan Waktu – and in particular, for banning the Rocket from being circulated and sold to the public after it had been licensed to do so for 25 years.

These are all undemocratic actions which violate the human rights of Malaysians, and Datuk Megat Junid’s explanations have not being able to hide the fact that they are serious violations of the freedom of the press in Malaysia.

DAP calls on the Prim Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, to seriously reconsider and revoke the government’s actions to violate freedom of the press in Malaysia by restoring to the Rocket its 25-year-old permit to be circulated and sold to the public.

If the Barisan Nasional Government persists in its violation of the freedom of the press and grave disregard of human rights, then it must be held responsible for presenting to the world community as a government which has no regard for human rights as during the Operation Lalang mass detentions in 1987.

By seeking to ban the Rocket from public circulation and distribution, the Barisan Nasional Government has clearly put its own party interest above the national interest.