Parti Keadilan Rakyat condemns the Home Ministry’s (KDN) suspension of Suara Keadilan newspaper as a clear violation of democratic freedoms including freedom of the press and the rights of the opposition.

Suara Keadilan received a letter dated 2 July 2010 from the Ministry stating that:-

  1. they were not satisfied with the explanation given concerning the Felda story;
  2. Suara Keadilan had not responded to their earlier “surat-surat teguran”;
  3. the permit has already expired (on 30 June 2010) and that a so called Panel 13 of the KDN  has not decided on the renewal;
  4. the alleged “surat-surat teguran” revolved around Suara Keadilan’s reports “UMNO-BN ketagih sedut hasil Petronas”, “BN Bolot, jual saham BERNAS” and “UMNO-BN rosakkan institusi perubatan”.

The Ministry therefore found the newspaper: “gagal mematuhi konsep sebenar yang telah diluluskan oleh pihak kementerian iaitu isi kandungan hanya terhad kepada berita, rencana yang berkaitan dengan PKR sahaja namun sebaliknya isi kandungan penerbitan ini menyentuh tentang rencana-rencana serta isu-isu semasa serta cenderung menyiarkan isu-isu untuk menjejaskan kredibiliti, imej serta reputasi kepimpinan kerajaan yang memerintah pada masa ini. Ini juga telah bercanggah dengan Syarat-Syarat Permit Penerbitan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Kementerian”.

Keadilan finds the KDN’s reason for suspending Suara Keadilan as absurd, ridiculous and filled with mala fide as surely it cannot expect an opposition newspaper to report only on party activities without any writings on current issues and the present government.

This action merely goes to show that the BN-UMNO government is insecure and unable to respond in a civilised manner to the issues and real concerns raised by the opposition but instead resorts to oppressive and outdated laws like the Printing Presses and Publication Act. It is of no concern to the Ministry what the opposition writes in its newspapers and the Ministry should only issue the licence annually without attempting to dictate what can or cannot be written.

There is no reason to take offense at the Felda bankruptcy story as Felda is open to respond to the allegations and in any event it has already initiated legal proceedings against the newspaper – which the party will defend.

Keadilan wishes to assert that the party has never received any letters from the KDN including any “surat teguran”. Suara Keadilan lawyers have written on 29 June 2010 informing that their client did not receive such letters and requested details and copies of the alleged letters but KDN failed to respond.

Further, Suara Keadilan has applied to renew its license on 11 March 2010 but did not receive any response and this clearly showed that the Felda story and the alleged surat-surat teguran were merely a pretext to suspend the newspaper.

Keadilan has filed an emergency motion in Parliament through YB Azmin Ali, MP for Gombak to demand an explanation from the Ministry of Home Affairs on the suspension of Suara Keadilan.

Mohamed Azmin Ali

Member of Parliament for Gombak

5 July 2010