Dear Guan Eng and Prof Ramasamy,
As usual, you and your party have unreservedly condemned BN’s suppression of press freedom, this time in the banning of Makkal Ossai. Kudos!
Condemnation is what the opposition can only do and should do. However, now as the ruling party at the state level, you can and must do more.
PR state governments know well about the opportunity offered by Section 25 of Printing Presses and Publications Act: ““Nothing in this Act shall extend to the publication or making of any documents or periodical by or for the Federal or any State Government or any statutory body.”
Since the coalition is even planning the publication of its own newspapers, why not PR does the most important thing now – offer Makkal Osai to publish for the State Governments?
If the five states have not come to agreement on this, why can’t Penang take the lead?
The opposition and civil society has condemned the suspension of The Star, Sin Chew, Watan (1987), Sarawak Tribune, Guang Ming Daily northern edition, Berita Petang Sarawak, Weekend Mail (2006) and Makkal Osai (2007) but what have all the condemnations achieved?
It certainly has not stopped BN from suspending Makkal Osai again!
Is politics “business as usual” after March 8? Is Makkal Sakthi too weak to protect press freedom?
You have done the brave thing by stopping the abuse of NEP in Penang. If even a scarce cow like NEP has not stopped you from changing Malaysia to be better, how can PPPA compare to NEP?
By offering a state government’s authorization for Makkal Osai to print – nothing in the law will stop its circulation outside of Penang or the PR states – you will effectively pronounce the death of PPPA.
You will be remembered in history as the heroes who free the Malaysian media, which no amounts of press statements and press conferences condemning BN’s suppressive nature can do.
We can see no justification of the PR state governments now holding back the opportunity to rescue Makkal Osai and later publishing its own newspapers or rescuing Oriental Daily (the Chinese daily whose publication permit has not been renewed).
Holding back the power to free Makkal Osai is not only a great let down to the media freedom movement in Malaysia – suggesting that the opposition is not genuinely interested to dismantle the barrier of entry into print media – but also one for the Makkal Sathi movement, without which the Pakatan Rakyat would not have comed into power outside of Kelantan.
Your Right Honourable Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Penang, the power is in your hands.
Malaysians need Action, not words, to free its press.
So, take the lead, offer Makkal Osai a hand, free the Malaysian press now!
Just Change it!
Malaysians who treasure press freedom, you are cordially invited to jointly endorse this letter by putting your name below.