Based on reasons given by Home Ministry for 3-month suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, will 1MDB become a new “sensitive” issue which will attract the full weight of Najib’s law if discussed or mentioned?

The Home Ministry’s secretary-general, Alwi Ibrahim has given three reasons for suspending The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months, from July 27.

Firstly, the headings and reporting by the two publications has raised questions and created negative public perceptions towards 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and also implicated the government and national leaders.

Secondly, the published news reports were based on doubtful and unverified information, which might alarm public opinion and could/might be prejudicial to public order and national interest.

Thirdly, the 1MDB issue is being investigated by an investigation team that has been set up. Therefore, it is inappropriate for the reporting (on the issue) to create negative perceptions and done continuously, and it is unfair for 1MDB and consequently for the government and national leaders.

Based on the reasons given by Home Ministry for the three-month suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily, will 1MDB become a new “sensitive” issue which will attract the full weight of Najib’s law if discussed or mentioned?

Talking about being “unfair” for 1MDB, the government and national leaders, has the Home Ministry secretary-general ever thought about unfairness, in fact injustice, to Malaysia and the 30 million Malaysians caused:

Firstly, by the failure of the Prime Minister and the Umno/BN Government to give full accounting on the 1MDB scandal in the past five years and in particular Najib’s failure to give a simple Yes or No to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report of July 2 that US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) had been deposited into Najib’s personal banking account in AmBank in March 2013 just before the 13th General Election, where the money came from and where to whom they had gone to – as Najib had implicitly confirmed the RM2.6 billion deposits with his repeated statement that he had never taken funds for personal gain; and

Secondly, the unprecedented spectre of a Cabinet which is tainted by the 1MDB scandal because the Cabinet or the majority of the Cabinet Ministers had received improper funding from these personal accounts of the Prime Minister for the 13th General Election funding, disqualifying them from participating in any Cabinet discussion or decision on 1MDB scandal because of confrict-of-interest;’ and

Thirdly, reducing Malaysia into an international joke all because of the 1MDB scandal with a quartet of four violations of fundamental rights, viz, violating Internet freedom with the blocking of the Sarawak Report website and breach of Malaysia’s Bill of Guarantee of “No Internet Censorhip”; Violating freedom of movement by banning two patriotic MPs who had done great national service in trying to pry open the 1MDB scandal from leaving the country; violating the freedom of the press with the suspension of two publications for its articles on the 1MDB scandal although not a single article on 1MDB in these publications had ever been challenged for its veracity; and serious human rights violation in unprecedented invocation of the new-fangled offence of “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”, when everybody inside and outside the country knows that the authorities are in fact undermining and not protecting parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.

In other parliamentary democracies, where the doctrine of separation of powers are honoured not by the breach, government actions to restrict the freedom of movement of MPs or to intimidate MPs by accusing them of “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which could send patriotic and conscientious MPs to jail for up t5o 20 years, would have set off titanic battle between Parliament and the Executive.

Is the Malaysian Parliament so cowed and supine that the Executive can ride roughshod over the most sacred of parliamentary traditions and conventions?

This is why I am seeking an appointment with the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Amin on how to mobilise both national and international opinion to defend Parliament and protect MPs from such insidious and nefarious Executive attacks on parliamentary privileges.

One thought that struck me when I read the Home Ministry’s reasons for suspending The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily – why Utusan Malaysia had not been closed down long ago, as it had repeatedly and unrepentantly published not only “doubtful and unverified information”, but downright lies and falsehoods, to alarm public opinion and cause prejudice to public order and national interest.

Why one law for Utusan Malaysia and another law for the Edge publications?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah