by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 21st February 1995:
Megat’s two-week ultimatum to revoke printing permits of three newspapers has resulted in the total black-out of DAP news, speeches and statements in these newspapers in the past three days
DAP is very concerned that the two-week ultimatum by the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Datuk Megat Junid Megat Ayob, threatening to revoke the printing permits of three news papers has resulted in the total black-out of DAP news, speeches and statements in these newspapers in the past three days.
Megat said on Sunday that he had issued a strong warning when he met chief editors of several newspapers and gave them two weeks to stop publishing articles which could “undermine the government’s efforts in creating a multi-racial society”.
From the total black-out of DAP news, speeches and statements in the last three days since the meeting of Megat Junid with the chief editors of the three newspapers, the question is whether Megat Junid had warned them that giving coverage to DAP news, speeches and statements is construed as “undermining the government’s efforts in creating a multi-racial society”.
I had spoken to Megat by telephone yesterday and he assured me that he had not instructed the newspapers to black-out DAP news, speeches and statements and that his warning to the newspapers to stop publishing articles which “undermined racial harmony in the country” had nothing to do with the DAP.
The charge that newspapers in a multi-racial society like Malaysia are consistently ‘undermining racial harmony’ is a very serious one, and the people in a democratic country are entitled to know the details of these charges and the defences of the newspaper’s concerned to these charges.
The Home Ministry, particularly on the eve of general elections, should not be prosecutor, jury, judge and executioner all in one on a matter which concerns press freedom and there should be a tribunal where such serious charges could be examined independently and professionally, so that no accusations could be raised that strong-armed actions are being taken against newspapers to protect the political interests of certain Barisan Masional component parties rather than protecting the overall national interests of the people.