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May 9, 2008

Press Statement : Penang Chief Minister YAB Lim Guan Eng

malaysiatoday - [...] DAP condemns the arrest of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the editor of the internet news portal Malaysia Today, under the Sedition Act, and demands for his immediate release as well as withdrawal of charges. DAP hopes that all journalists and media associations can come out in solidarity and support for RPK by condemning RPK’s sedition charges.

We know that Raja Petra - who is charged with implying in a post on April 25 that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife were involved in the murder of a Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu - has been one of the vocal critics of the BN government and its cronies.

On the same day the posting was made (April 25) Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek told the press that media freedom should not be feared by anyone, including the ruling party, as it could also be the source of strength for the government and the country. Ahmad Shabery even said that the reform announced by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi recently such as the setting up of a judicial commission and introducing an Anti-Corruption Commission could be implemented more effectively in a free media environment.

Even Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar promised that he would review the country's repressive media laws to boost press freedom. “I have told my officers that I want to have a re-look at the Printing Presses and Publications Act so that we can move with the times,” he said, according to the Star on April 20.

Syed Hamid went further when he said, “We need press freedom in order for us to have a check and balance in government. We are not trying to control you but we want everyone to contribute to the nation-building process. Why should we let ourselves (government) become unpopular by having such regulations?”

The sad truth about this deteriorating situation pertaining to our press and other media is due to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s too many promises which he failed to deliver since he became Prime Minister in late 2003. After the recent political tsunami on 8 March 2008, it is now proven that talk is cheap.
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