Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is “trampling on the law” in refusing to specify what the allegations of misreporting against business publication The Edge are, said an opposition MP.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said the home minister should know this is a requirement to enable the accused to reply to the show cause letter that it has received from the ministry.
Zahid’s response that The Edge should know what the accusations are was “most arrogant and unbecoming”, said the DAP parliamentarian in a statement today.
“(Zahid’s) reply only proves that our home minister has zero sense of natural justice and tramples on the rule of law.
“You cannot charge an accused of committing an alleged crime without informing the accused of the specific crime he has allegedly committed.
“This is among the first principles of natural justice of the English law, the European Convention of Human Rights and the United Nations.
“How is The Edge expected to defend itself when it doesn’t even know what wrongdoing the home minister is accusing them of?” said Pua.
“Zahid Hamidi should stop behaving like a tin-pot dictator of a banana republic.
“The minister is making Malaysia the laughing stock of the world and destroying the country’s reputation in the process,” he added.
Too hot to report?
On Wednesday The Edge received a show cause letter over its reports on the debit ridden Finance Ministry investment arm 1MDB.
However when asked yesterday what specifically The Edge had misreported, Zahid merely told reporters, “If you eat chillies , you will feel the heat, so there is no need to ask us which articles had involved information that was untrue.”
Pua said the Home Ministry’s refusal to specify to The Edge which of the reports were offensive showed a degree of intimidation that was “brazen and crass”.
“It was only fair that if The Edge was to be given a fair opportunity to respond to the letter, it must know what offence it has allegedly committed in the first place.
“Hence, The Edge rightfully requested for information on the offensive articles the paper has published more than 300 articles on 1MDB alone, Bernama , Bloomberg , Reuters , Business Times , Euromoney - alongside their own reporting from the media channels in The Edge Media Group,” said Pua.
Guan Eng slams double standards
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng similarly slammed Zahid for his “most irresponsible attitude” and accused him of targeting the publication instead of 1MDB, which has been the subject of numerous exposes over various transactions.
“Instead of persecuting The Edge for exposing these financial scandals, Zahid should display the same enthusiasm and earnestness in acting against those responsible for the RM42 billion 1 MDB financial scandal,” said Lim, who is also Bagan MP.
“This is a most irresponsible attitude of the home minister which tantamount to a breach of public trust and betrayal of the concept of rule of law which he as Minister is duty-bound to uphold,” he said in a statement.
Lim accused Zahid of practising double standards in not applying the same standards to BN-linked mainstream media.
“By not being neutral and independent is a breach of public trust when such a wide definition of wrongful acts can also cover false reports by the Umno-controlled media such as New Straits Times , Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian , which publish lies and false articles about the Penang state government, especially blaming Penang state government for issues that originated from the previous BN state government before 2008.
“Clearly such double-standards confirms suspicions that Ahmad Zahid is abusing his power as a minister to pursue narrow political interests and perhaps lift the depression of his prime minister following the expose of the 1MDB financial scandal,” said Lim.