Friday, July 20, 2007

Revoke Media Ban, Malaysia.

It is outrageous to Malaysians that a democratic state like Malaysia would enforce a ban on the healthy discussion in the mainstream press on such an important issue as the political system of its country. This is particularly disturbing considering that the evidence and facts are overwhelmingly clear to many Malaysians that Malaysia is founded by the sports-loving Tunku with several other multi-racial persons as a secular nation. A discussion is needed as the future of our children and grandchildren are at stake here in this nation.

Why are the views of the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister ONLY PERMITTED to be published by the main stream press and heard by the people in a democracy?

I don't buy it that a healthy discussion of the issue will disturb the peace. In any debate, it is when the side that has something to hide or is afraid to lose the argument that it attempts to muzzle its opponent with myriad of excuses.

It rings an alarming bell like the bad old days of the repressive Cold War Soviet Union and its citizens lived in fear of its cruel oppressive Secret Police, the KGP.

It is hard to believe Pak Lah or 'Mr. Nice Guy' would go back on his words about greater freedom for all when he first became the Prime Minister.

At the moment I do not want to think of sinister motives by those in authority who make such untruthful 'Islamic State' statements.

The following article is extracted from Malaysiakini, dated 20/7/07.

Revoke media ban on Islamic state debate
Jul 20, 07 4:11pm Adjust font size:
Opposition leaders today roundly criticised the ban imposed by the Internal Security Ministry on all mainstream media against publishing any news on the issue of Malaysia being an Islamic state.

In separate statements, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang blasted the government for barring the media from reporting the debates on the theocratical status of the nation.

The issue arose on Tuesday when Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said Malaysia is an Islamic state and not a secular one while carefully assuring members of minority faiths that their rights will be protected.

He said the mainly-Muslim Malaysia has never been a secular nation as the government has always been driven by the fundamentals of Islam.

This was immediately opposed by various quarters, including BN senior partner MCA, who argued that historical facts and documents showed that Malaysia was a secular state, just as espoused in the Federal Constitution.

Following this, the Internal Security Ministry's publications control and Al-Quran texts unit decided to ban any publication of discussions on the matter as such discussions would cause "tension".

The ministry however ruled that newspapers can still publish statements from Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib on the country being an Islamic state.


Reacting today, Wan Azizah said the ban harmed the development of the nation and its people who are attempting to grow into a mature liberal democracy.

"A country, which allows only the voice of the prime minister and his deputy to be reported on national policies and matters of public interest, is in grave danger of tilting towards authoritarianism," she said.

She added that all official announcements and pronouncements from the government and its officials must be subjected to public scrutiny.

"This is a fundamental aspect of any democratic system," she said, adding that the ban should be revoked and the media returned the right to "facilitate responsible public discussions and views on this matter".

Lim also agreed that the solution was not to ban the media and deny Malaysians the right to speak up.

"This is a cowardly and undemocratic act, the gravest blow to press freedom in the 45 months of Abdullah premiership," he said.

He added that the clamp on the media was also a disservice to the integrity of the Merdeka social contract agreed by the forefathers of the major communities as the basis of nation building – a secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion.

He said that Najib should retract his statement and that the Cabinet should reaffirm the Merdeka social contract that Malaysia had never been conceived as an Islamic state but as a secular state with Islam as the official religion.

"The question all Malaysians are entitled to a clear and unequivocal answer is whether the upcoming 50th Merdeka anniversary celebrations is for Malaysians to commemorate 50 years of a secular Malaysia or to mark its official end and the beginning of an Islamic state?"

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