Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 24th May 2021
The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, should be mindful of the 18-rung freefall of Malaysia’s 2021 press freedom index and remind his bloated Cabinet to follow his example of tolerating critics including those who call him “stupid”.
It is most unfortunate that the clampdown on press freedom has happened under the charge of the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Saifuddin Abdullah, who had always presented himself as a liberal and open-minded person who would be in the forefront to champion press freedom instead of doing the very opposite.
Ranked 119 in the Reporters Without Border’s (RSF) 2021 annual press freedom index, Malaysia’s press freedom situation improved dramatically after the 2018 elections, but things have gone in reverse since Muhyiddin took over as head of a backdoor, undemocratic and illegitimate administration.
Sulaiman should explain why Malaysia has suffered such a freefall in the press freedom index and why he could not maintain his predecessor, Gobind
Singh Deo’s efforts in promoting press freedom in Malaysia.
RSF had said: “For the media, the restoration of more authoritarian rule in 2020 has led to prosecutions, police searches, expulsions (of journalists and a whistleblower) and flagrant violations of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources.
“To protect themselves against the government’s offensive, many journalists have had to censor themselves.”
It is time that Sulaiman to speak up!
If the stifling of press freedom since the toppling of the Pakatan Harapan government after 22 months by the Sheraton Move conspiracy is not according to his wishes and principles, is he prepared to make an issue of it by resigning from the bloated Cabinet if the repressive actions against the press do not cease?
It is also time for Muhyiddin to show that his premiership is not against press freedom in Malaysia.