Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 18th April 2009:
Did Najib direct or approve the ban on four private television stations concerning the reporting of the Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder case
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should explain whether he had directed or approved the ban on four private television stations when reporting the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu C4 murder case.
Malaysiakini has reported that the four private TV stations, TV3, ntv7, 8TV and tv9, have been directed by their owner, Media Prima Berhad, closely linked to Umno, to observe four “don’ts” involving news reports relating to the murder case, including:
Is such a ban the first fruit of Najib’s “new way forward” for the “new media”, a subject he addressed at the MPI-Petronas Malaysian Journalism Awards ceremony three days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister?
Najib had called on Malaysians to establish a “new national discourse” on the principles of transparency and accountability; service to all, not just a few; and respect and fairness in the public dialogue.
Is the sweeping under the carpet swirling questions about the actual circumstances of the C4 murder of Altantuya a contribution to a “new national discourse on the principles of transparency and accountability” or the very opposite?
During the Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections, the very name of “Altantuya Shaariibuu” was even banned by the police at the ceramahs?
What was the justification – and even more pertinent, wasn’t such a ban short-sighted and counterproductive?
Or are we moving towards a country where the term “Altantuya Shaariibuu” is to be banned from the public domain, even in Parliament, with the ban enforced by all the instruments of repression within the command of the powers-that-be?
Najib should realize that this is the most obtuse way to deal with the swirling questions about the actual circumstances of the C4 murder of Altantuya, including his involvement if any in the murder case.
These questions will not go away just by an official ban of the term or censorship in the mainstream media.
Najib has said that he is innocent of any wrongdoing in the Altantuya C4-murder case. He should not delay any further and move boldly to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry so that all the swirling allegations about the actual circumstances of the C4 murder of Altantuya could be fully investigated and the baseless ones dispelled once and for all.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor