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Attorney-General Gani Patail should instruct the Police to apologise to Malaysiakini for the January raid and seizure of 19 CPUs


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaFriday): On Monday, the day Parliament was informed by the Home Ministry  that police have concluded their investigation into malaysiakini for a letter it published early this year which Umno Youth had claimed was seditious, another drama affecting press freedom was taking place in our neighbouring country, Indonesia.

In Jakarta, the Central Jakarta district court judge Iskandar Tjakke  ordered several police officers, including the national police chief, to publicly apologise to the Tempo magazine for turning a blind eye to assaults on the weeklyís reporters last March.

Hailed as a minor victory for press freedom,  the Indonesian National Police spokesman had said that the police would abide by the courtís ruling for the public apology to be made within 14 days.

The Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should take a leaf from the Indonesian example and instruct the Malaysian police to publicly apologise to malaysiakini for its raid and confiscation of 19 central processing units (CPUs) from the malaysiakini office on January 20.

Gani Patail  should act in the public interest to rectify the adverse national and international image of government high-handedness and heavy-fistedness against freedom of expression, information and the media in an information age, by closing the case on malaysiakini and sending  a clear message to the police and the society at large that the Attorney-Generalís Chambers will not only uphold the governmentís guarantee of no Internet censorship, but will be in the vanguard to protect press and information freedom to help build a more open and democratic civil society.

The Bali Concord II of the ASEAN Bali Summit envisioned a distinctive sense of  ASEAN community and spirit.

Let Malaysia, through the Attorney-Generalís directive to the police to publicly apologse to malaysiakini and the closure of police investigations, take the first step to shape the distinctive sense of  ASEAN community and spirit as one which fully respects freedom of expression, information and the media, whether print or electronic.

(10/10/2003)


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman