With three-month suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, Malaysia in free fall to become a failed state

Three days ago, I warned: “A darkness is descending on Malaysia.”

Two days ago, DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua was barred from leaving the country to fly to Yogyakarta, Indonesia and may be investigated under the new-fangled offence of “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which could send him to jail up to 20 years.

Today, the Home Ministry suspended the publishing permit of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27, for reporting on the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal which were regarded by the Najib premiership as “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest”.

Darkness is swiftly descending in Malaysia.

Malaysia has become a topsy-turvy world.

It is freedom of speech, thought and expression, and the freedom of the press, which are the sine qua non of a free society and a fully developed nation.

It is not such freedoms but corruption, abuses of power and avarice which are prejudicial to public and national interests.

After spearheading six years of National Transformation Programme, Malaysia of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been “transformed” into a country where the expose of the biggest financial scandal in Malaysia, the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, and not the 1MDB scandal which has become “prejudicial to public and national interest”.

More than three weeks after the Wall Street Journal report and allegation that US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into Najib’s personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013 just before the 13th General Election, not one of the three enforcement agencies in the “special task force”, namely Bank Negara Malaysia, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, had yet interviewed Najib himself.

Instead of going on leave until the outcome of an investigation by independent and respected Malaysians who are not subordinate and answerable to the Prime Minister, we have Najib remaining in office to “mastermind” the counter-attack against all those who had sought to pry upon the 1MDB scandal and to ensure that the “special task force” set up to investigate into the WSJ report on July 2 and the 1MDB scandal would clear him of any wrongdoing – and Najib had no hesitation in announcing such a result at the early stage of inquiry by the “special task force”.

With the latest assaults on press freedom, Malaysia is plunging to the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, when we had already fallen to a historic low of 147th out of 180 countries, a 25-point drop from 122nd ranking in 2012.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Is it possible to save Malaysia from a free fall to become a failed state?

These are questions which the birthday bash for the Prime Minister would not waste time on, for it is a night for celebration – but these two questions should be sombre food for thought for another birthday bash tonight for the person who had previously caused darkness to descend in Malaysia, whether he could now help save Malaysia from the free fall of becoming a failed state.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah