PKR has condemned the decision to block access to the controversial news portal Malaysia Today, saying that it was a desperate act by the shell-shocked Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Calling it the latest onslaught on civil liberties, the opposition party said the decision is tantamount to internet censorship.
“It is also a desperate act by the BN government that is still reeling from its repeated defeats and refusing to listen to the clear signals demonstrated by the rakyat time and again via the ballot box.
“The grounds given that Malaysia Today is a seditious website are completely baseless and unfounded in any principle of law, given that there are ample laws which govern such activities and there has yet to be a single court in all of Malaysia that has found the website to contain seditious content,” added PKR secretary-general Salahuddin Hashim in a statement today.
Once again, he said, the government has shown complete contempt for the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.
On Wednesday, Malaysiakini reported that government-backed watchdog Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission had ordered all internet service providers (ISPs) in the country to block the errant website.
Yesterday, Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar defended the move, saying that Malaysia Today had been banned because it published “libelous, defamatory and slanderous” content.
Is this just the first step?
However, Salahuddin pointed out that “pre-emptive strikes such as these are weak and pathetic attempts to hide a desperation borne of absolute moral bankruptcy.”
He said PKR also views seriously the possibility that this is merely the first step in a comprehensive and reprehensible attempt to curb the access of Malaysians to the Internet, which in the past few years has been the bastion of freedom for those seeking alternative views.
“PKR calls upon the MCMC and the government to keep its promise to the MSC and to immediately revoke this order, and resist any temptation to arrogantly show callous disregard for the right of Malaysians to access alternative information,” he said.
Raja Petra Kamaruddin, founder and editor of Malaysia Today, has established a mirror site with a foreign provider.
“I will fight the government action all the way. Their action will not stop me from writing,” he had said, promising to challenge the shutdown in court.
Raja Petra is already facing a sedition charge and a defamation suit after linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman.