‘Stop tarnishing gov’t over The Heat’

The Home Ministry has today warned “certain parties” against tarnishing its image by overstating its case against news weekly The Heat.

Although it did not name names, a statement issued by the ministry today said it “viewed seriously the actions of certain parties that have been continuously tarnishing the government following the suspension of The Heat’s publishing permit”.

However, the minister today said the suspension of the weekly was “temporary” while it took time to look into the publisher’s reply to its show cause letter. The Heat was ordered to cease publishing on December 19.

“It is not a permanent suspension and is in line with procedures for enforcing the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (Amended 2012),” the three-point statement said, without quoting any official.
It said that the ministry will give fair and proper weight to the The Heat‘s reply, adding that it would respond “in the shortest time without being influenced by any parties”.

Since it was taken off the shelves, starting from its December 21 issue, The Heat has found groundswell support from many journalists working in the alternative media, including online platforms.

An impromptu organisation, The Movement of Angry Media (Geramm) was formed and a forum on free press in the country was held while a protest is scheduled for Saturday.

The movement also drew interest and support from veteran journalists, MPs and lawyers, including Bar Council president Christopher Leong, who, on Saturday, issued a statement charging that the government had broken the law when it suspended The Heat indefinitely.

Leong also questioned whether Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was trying to silence his critics as the ministry’s show cause letter to The Heat came just shortly after the publication of a news report on the “big-spending” prime minister in its November 23-29 issue. – Malaysiakini

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