When The Heat gets too hot to handle in Malaysia

0
155

Aliran condemns the Home Ministry’s indefinite suspension of the English-language news weekly, apparently over a front-page article about the allegedly spendthrift habits of the PM and his wife.

the-heat-is-suspended

Aliran condemns categorically the indefinite suspension of news weekly The Heat by the Home Ministry, apparently over a recent November front-page article highlighting the allegedly spendthrift habits of Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor.

This action clearly goes against the principle of freedom of expression. The concerns of the rakyat about the antics and policy decisions of their leaders should come under close public scrutiny via the media and, in this case, through The Heat.

Indeed, making leaders, whether from the Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, accountable for their actions is part and parcel of democracy. Responsible media have a social role to play in this resgard.

That is why concerned Malaysians would have expected Najib, or his representative in the Cabinet, to respond to such criticism in a democratic and civilised manner through the news weekly itself – and not by resorting to sledgehammer tactics.

The suspension of The Heat shows that the recent amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act, supposedly aimed at liberalising the Malaysian press, have come to naught. If anything, this suspension, the reason for which has not yet been specified, makes a mockery of the much touted amendments or repeals of laws supposedly to promote democratic ‘transformation’.

This episode also suggests that the Home Minister still has the political clout to intimidate the mainstream press to the point that newspapers would eventually practise self-censorship and consequently be less accountable to their readers.

Aliran urges the federal government to lift the suspension of The Heat immediately. Otherwise, our political leaders should leave the kitchen if they can’t take the heat.

Dr Mustafa K Anuar
Honorary Secretary
Aliran
20 December 2013

Thanks for dropping by! Apart from the views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed, the opinions in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

Our voluntary writers work hard to keep these articles free for all to read. But we do need funds to support our struggle for Justice, Freedom and Solidarity. To maintain our editorial independence, we do not carry any advertisements; nor do we accept funding from dubious sources. If everyone reading this was to make a donation, our fundraising target for the year would be achieved within a week. So please consider making a donation of whatever amount you can afford to sustain Aliran. Please make payments to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB Bank account number 8004240948.

And why not become an Aliran member or subscribe to our FREE newsletters.

Join the conversation

avatar
750
  Subscribe  
Notify of