The Malaysian Government has over the past few days taken further draconian steps to silence free media from exposing corruption at the highest levels.
On Thursday, Malaysia’s Multimedia and Communication’s body announced that amendments will be made to the Communications and Multimedia Act allowing the Government to block websites that are seen to ‘slander’ the country’s leadership. The authorities are also reported to be attempting to force new ownership on key free internet news portals.
The government has already singled out British-based Sarawak Report by uniquely banning and blocking the site, after it exposed multi-million dollar transfers into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s accounts last year, a matter he has proved unable to refute.
Also last week, there were further unannounced measures taken to simply shut down platforms being used by Malaysian citizens to access the information provided by Sarawak Report. Medium, a popular website, used by thousands of publishers, including Sarawak Report is also now arbitrarily blocked obstructing Malaysians from access to the entire website.
Likewise, an unannounced blackout was also applied against the Hong Kong based Asia Sentinel, which has also doggedly covered Malaysian corruption issues and reported on a number of the investigations conducted by Sarawak Report.
The issue which the Prime Minister plainly wants to censor in these ways is Sarawak Report’s latest coverage of further massive dollar payments into his personal accounts and the links between those payments with kickbacks to the former Abu Dhabi fund manager Khadem Al Qubaisi. Al Qubaisi was involved in huge loss making deals with Malaysia’s development fund 1MDB, from which hundreds of millions of dollars have gone missing and unaccounted for.
Other stories carried by Sarawak Report over the past week, which have caused shock waves through Malaysia, included the news that Najib has been attempting to negotiate his exit (together with a safe passage and access to all his billion dollar accounts) as well as further details on the death of one of the whistleblowers on the 1MDB scandal, Kevin Morais. Morais was brutally suffocated in a barrel of cement and for weeks the authorities attempted to deny that he had been involved in the investigations into Najib’s accounts.
We suggest that, instead of these strong arm tactics against legitimate media coverage, Najib Razak should move to restore his credibility by simply suing Sarawak Report in an independent court of law, in order that the evidence can be scrutinised and witnesses crossed examined. If Sarawak Report and other media are “lying”, as is being suggested by Najib and his supports, then it would be the simplest thing for them to demonstrate that his reputation has been abused.
If the Prime Minister is unable to take these steps and sue Sarawak Report then it is an acknowledgement that our allegations are correct and this is the time for him to resign. Currently, his actions are those of a desperate criminal regime which is abusing the fundamental rights of its people, in order to continue its criminal activities and remain in power.