You Sabotage Us, We Ban You

The widespread coverage given by Malaysia’s Tamil language newspaper Makkal Osai to the Opposition parties is probably they got banned by Home Ministry today, says Malaysiakini.

The editors at Makkal Osai probably expected this. Their publishing permit was up for renewal and it wasn’t renewed by Home Ministry. No explanation given.

Publishing permits for newspapers in Malaysia are renewed annually, under the draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, subject to the absolute discretion of the Home Ministry. Your proverbial Sword of Damocles.

I suppose this is Syed Hamid Albar’s “absolute discretion”. Since the Indian votes in Malaysia swung almost en masse to the Opposition on the March 8 General Elections, the paper gets blamed.

You wanna know what powers are vested in the Home Ministry in relation to printing and publishing? Let’s take a 10-minute break for a Hari Ini Dalam Sejarah.

You can read the entire Act here.  Do read it, and pay particular attention to the dates the Amendments took effect.

Dr Mahathir said Melayu Mudah Lupa. I don’t think so. I’d like to think Malaysians in general are not to be dismissed so easily under the “mudah lupa” category.

So, you read the Act? Can you see that this Amendments took effect 8 January 1988? It happened a couple of months after the infamous Operasi Lalang that saw the arrest of many DAP people under another draconian law that is the Internal Security Act (ISA).

ISA muzzled the opposition. PPPA muzzled the newspapers. The judges balked at this, of course, initially. 

At least, then High Court Justice Harun Hashim did in the case of Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara v. Minister of Home Affairs, saying that the Home Ministry’s decision not to allow the Aliran to have a Malay language publication should be subject to judicial review.

The case went to the Supreme Court where Harun’s decision was reversed by the magical Justice Ajaib Singh who recognised the ouster clause (Sec 13A of the PPPA)  that came in in 1988, Sec 13A that states (drum roll please….)

Any decision of the Minister to refuse to grant or to revoke or to suspend a licence or permit shall be final and shall not be called in question by any court on any ground whatsoever.

How did such a restrictive action become law in Malaysia? Because there was no one in the Barisan Nasional with the balls to stand up to Dr M on this issue at the time. Or perhaps they were all in it together.

The MPs that you, your mom and dad etc.. elected screwed you yet again by voting the party line. That is what two-third majority does to you.

Now that there is an unprecedented 82 Opposition MPs in the 12th Parliament (whose members will be sworn in on April 28), and with BN in relative chaos, it will be more difficult to pass such noose-like laws, i’m sure.

You and I have exercised the only check and balance option that the people of Malaysia had left, last month.

Put your MPs to work. Make sure whoever you elected knows and acts on your collective issues.

Don’t let your MP become a Party Line Lembu! 


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