Lawyer takes aim at Najib and says the PM prefers to shoot the messenger rather than probe the wrongdoings he has been accused of
PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block access to the Sarawak Report (SR) website on the grounds of national security and public order is both laughable and tragic, said lawyer and human rights activist Art Harun.
In a blog posting where he goes at the prime minister and the government with guns blazing, Art accused Najib Razak of preferring to “shoot the messenger” and asked, “Has that (the ban) got to do with the immediate witch-hunting by our authorities against those who dare publish ‘facts’ rather than investigating the wrong-doings that are so apparent from those facts?”
He was referring to the expose by the Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal that USD700 million of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds had found its way into the private bank accounts of Najib.
He said the reasons of “national security” and disrupting “public order” that the MCMC had offered to justify the ban was “laughable” even if they rationalised that the website had a tendency to publish “unverified facts”.
He said real issues of national security were when Sulu gunmen invaded the country, killing 18 policemen and when death camps with mass graves were found within the country’s borders earlier in the year.
“Or was the Low Yat ruckus caused by Sarawak Report’s articles?” he asked snidely.
“Unverified facts? Slanderous and in fact libellous statements? Our Prime Minister has not been shy to bring court actions against those whom he thinks have defamed him.
“Why doesn’t the Prime Minister or the whole government sue the pants off Sarawak Report and its administrators? And perhaps obtain an injunction to stop them from further publishing all these unverified facts?”
Saying the ban went against everything the PM had spoken of at the International Conference on the Global Movement of Moderates (ICGMM), in particular the issue of democracy and governance, he argued, “In this day and age, our government would do better if it could think why is it that many Malaysians and foreigners choose to believe the ‘unverified facts’ published by Sarawak Report rather than falling for the ‘verified facts’ forced unto the world by those who are entrusted with the job of verifying such facts?”
He also said that until the present time, SR’s allegations had not been “effectively nor properly denied” and added, “If the facts were unverified, why not deny it in clear, unequivocal and absolute terms? Why hide between jargons and lawyer’s letters to seek ‘explanation’? Deny it and be damned with it.”