13 January 2019
Press statement by MCA Spokesperson Chan Quin Er
Dear IGP, why threaten the Press?
It is most distressing to hear the Inspector-General of Police of Malaysia Yb Tan Sri Dato' Seri Panglima Abdul Hamid Bador issue a threat towards the press.
During today’s press conference at Dewan Theatrette Menara 1, Bukit Aman, the IGP spoke of adopting a tougher stance on racially-tinted issues. I was initially heartened by this, as I felt that certain quarters in Malaysia have gone too far when it comes to issues such as race, language and religion, and the police should hold those who stoke enmity amongst the races accountable for their actions.
However, things took a nasty turn when the IGP directed a thinly-veiled threat against the very members of the Press before him. He told them that if deemed to be a threat due to their handling of racial matters in their reports, the police will give no warning and will send officers to their houses late at night to seize them.
As a political party representing the interests of all races in Malaysia, the MCA will certainly applaud taking action against those who spew discord. But should merely reporting on racial matters fall within the IGP’s ambit of sowing racial hatred? Will we see the return to an era where people do not speak out against injustice for fear of the thought police knocking on their doors? While maintaining the country’s racial harmony is imperative, we must not ignore the freedom of speech. Due process must be followed, and punishment meted out accordingly, instead of making people ‘disappear’ and shutting down the presses.
To quote the French philosopher Albert Camus: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.”.
Chan Quin Er