Cabinet should review Home Ministry ban on Thoothan as the Tamil biweekly should not be closed for publishing articles and reports extremely embarrassing to MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu


by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, June 24, 1994:

Cabinet should review Home Ministry ban on Thoothan as the Tamil biweekly should not be closed for publishing articles and reports extremely embarrassing to MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu

The Cabinet next week should review the Home Ministry ban on Thoothan as the Tamil biweekly should not be closed for publishing articles and reports extremly embarrassing to MIC President, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

In its latest issue, dated June 22, which could not hit the news-stands because of the ban on June 21, Thoothan was carrying a new MIC scandal about 50 taxi permits meant for the Indian community but were ‘diverted’ to a RM2 company – like the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal.

In the last three months, Thoothan had published exclusive interviews with former Samy Vellu confidante and MIC public relations committee chairman, V. Subramaniam Barat Maniam, who had confessed to being the main ‘co-ordinator’ in the MAIKA Telekom shares hijacking scandal.

For instance, in a March issue, Thootan published documents produced by V. Subramaniam including a photostat copy of the April 1992 bank statement of Samy Vellu’s account, No.1102-0000168-00-2, with Bank of Commerce’s Jalan Masjid India Branch (Kuala Lumpur), which showed the following:

* On 3rd April 1992, SB Management and Advance Personal Computers Sdn. Bhd. issued two cash cheques from their Bank of Commerce Jalan Masjid India account totalling RM3.59 million as part of the proceeds of the sale of 420,000 Telekom shares;

* On the same day, Samy Vellu placed RM3.59 million as fixed deposit for one month at 7.8 per cent per annum interest, which would have amounted to RM23,335. This bears the Bank of Commerce Jalan Masjid India Branch fixed deposit receipt No. 223716.

* However, shortly after on the same day, Samy Vellu changed his mind, reduced the fixed deposit by RM90,000, which bears a new fixed deposit receipt No. 223718 for RM3.5 million. Samy Vellu ‘s April 1992 bank statement of his Bank of Commerce Jalan Masjid India Branch account shows that this RM90,000 was deposited into his personal account.

* For reasons best known to Samy Vellu, he changed his mind on the fixed deposit a second time, and dissolved the second fixed deposit of RM3.5 million. His bank statement shows that this RM3.5 million was then paid into his personal account on the same day.

* There was a third transaction in Samy Vellu’s personal account on 3rd April 1992 – the withdrawal of RM90,000.
These documents are evidence that Samy Vellu had misappropriated proceeds from the sale of the Telekom shares to his own personal bank account.

The Home Ministry should not try to save Samy Vellu from the embarrassing and compromising reports and articles in Thoothan, as Samy Vellu has recourse to the courts to clear his name if he feels that his reputation and integrity had been defamed.

The banning of Thoothan for exposing political and financial scandals will make a mockery of the UMNO Special General Assembly last week to combat money politics.

Apart from raising the fundamental issue of press freedom, democracy and human rights, it also raises the question as to whether the Barisan Nasional Government is serious about fighting corruption in all its forms particularly involving those in high political places.

DAP deplores the Indonesian Government ban on Tempo, Editor and DeTik and calls for the lifting of their ban

Recently, the Indonesian Government banned three weekly publications, Tempo – which is the country’s biggest selling magazine -Editor and DeTik shortly after they had run articles sharply critical of important political personalities in the country.

Is this the press freedom and democracy that Malaysia wants to emulate – that the press are free so long as they do not expose scandals, abuses of power and corruption involving political leaders in government?

DAP deplores the banning of Tempo, Editor and DeTik by the Indonesian Government and calls for the revocation of their ban – in the same way that DAP calls for the lifting of the ban on Thoothan by the Malaysian Government.