The Coalition of Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) condemns in the strongest possible terms the 3-month suspension of The Edge Financial Daily and The Edge Weekly by the Home Ministry on 27 July 2015.
Bersih 2.0 can find nothing in the recent publications by The Edge that is “prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest” as claimed by the Home Ministry. The role of journalism in uncovering abuses of power and corrupt practices is vital to a stable, democratic society and cannot be taken for granted.
Instead, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Malaysian government has no intention of allowing the truth to come out and is instead only interested in protecting those in positions of power from facing public scrutiny.
This ongoing crackdown, first on Sarawak Report and now The Edge, can only lead us to wonder if it is because the allegations of the Wall Street Journal were accurate in claiming RM2.6bn was transferred into the personal bank account of the Prime Minister two months before the 2013 General Election.
On 6 July, Bersih 2.0 demanded four immediate actions for us to have faith in the ongoing investigations:
- Najib Razak to make public his bank account details, in particular, clarify if the AmBank accounts existed in his name and, if so, show the transaction details for the dates in question.
- Najib Razak to take leave as the prime minister, minister of finance and all other public offices he holds pending investigation.
- Najib Razak’s, his spouse’s and his children’s accounts to be frozen.
- All findings of investigation by Bank Negara, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the police, and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 1MDB and related companies to be made public in the fastest time possible.
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By taking these initial steps, the public could have been reassured of the desire of the government to get to the truth behind the allegations.
Bersih 2.0 again demands clear, direct answers from the Prime Minister as to whether this money was deposited in his bank account and if this money was used to buy GE13.
Bersih 2.0 urges the Home Ministry to immediately revoke the suspension of The Edge and to desist in its continuous harassment of journalists who expose alleged corrupt practices by senior officials linked to the Malaysian government.
Until then, Bersih 2.0 stands in solidarity with The Edge and we ask for all Malaysians to unite behind a call for institutional changes to our broken system to ensure Malaysia never again has to endure such a scandal.
The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0, which consists of:
Chairperson: Maria Chin Abdullah; Deputy Chairperson: Sarajun Hoda Abdul Hassan; Treasurer: Masjaliza Hamzah; national representatives: Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Halim bin Yusof, Farhana binti Abdul Halim, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and New Sin Yew; vice-chairpersons: Jannie Lasimbang (Sabah), Ahmad b Awang Ali (Sarawak), Abd Halim b Wan Ismail (East Peninsula), Thomas Fann (South Peninsula), Simon Lee Ying Wai (Central Peninsula) and Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon (North Peninsula).