Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 1st January 2010:
Two days to read Maverick Mahathir and 58 days to decide whether it jeopardizes national security and public safety – what KPI/NKRA and “Performance Now”?
Last Saturday, Home Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Fuad Abdul Aziz denied that Barry Wain’s biography, “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times” is being put through any additional scrutiny by the Home Ministry.
He said it was being withheld to undergo the normal process for any foreign publication, to ensure that its contents would not jeopardize national security and public safety.
The ministry has 60 days from the time it was submitted to decide if the book should be allowed to be distributed in the country.
Nobody believes that Wain’s biography of Mahathir is lying in a mountainous pile of foreign publications waiting to be read for decision to be taken whether to release or censor it.
Wain’s book would have been read voraciously by those responsible for the subject-matter in the Home Ministry within a day or at most two days – which means we are having a situation where the book is read in two days but withheld for the next 58 days to decide whether the book should be allowed into the bookshops in the country or banned for jeopardizing national security or public safety!
What a mockery of the slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”! What a shameful and outrageous KPI/.NKRA regime!
Wain’s biography would not only have been read by the authorities concerned the instant copies of the book reached the Home Ministry – copies would have been sent as “topmost urgency” separately to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister and I have no doubt that both would have read it as a top priority or they would have failed their political duties.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak has virtually confirmed reading the book when on Tuesday he dismissed my call to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Wain’s allegation that Mahathir had burned or wasted RM100 billion in grandiose projects and corruption in his 22 years of premiership.
Did Najib think that Wain’s book would “jeopardise national security and public safety” and indicate to the Home Ministry that it should be held up and given the full treatment of 60-day scrutiny?
If Najib had not found Wain’s book to jeopardise national security and public safety, and should be held up by the Home Ministry, shouldn’t the fact that the Prime Minister having read the book be sufficient authority for Wain’s book to be released to the Malaysian public without any more bureaucratic obstacles?
It is only proper that Najib make clear his stand on whether the Home Ministry should continue to hold up the public release of Wain’s biography of Mahathir in the country.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor