KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- Tamil newspaper Makkal Osai on
Thursday sent an appeal letter to the Home Affairs Ministry (KDN)at
Putrajaya after its application to extend its publishing permit was
rejected a day earlier.
Its general manager M. Periasamy said the letter asking the
ministry to consider the appeal and explain why it was rejected was
sent Thursday afternoon.
A KDN officer told him the outcome of the appeal would be known in one week.
Periasamy said the newspaper's management promised to pay the wages of its 102 staff this month although printing had stopped.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) urged KDN to
reconsider its decision to reject the application to renew the permit.
Its secretary-general G Rajasekaran said in a statement that the
MTUC viewed the matter seriously as it concerned the future of the
staff and their families.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) coordinator John Liu said Makkal
Osai had the right to know the reasons for the rejection to facilitate
The rejection of the newspaper's publishing permit is causing anxiety among the staff who feared a bleak future.
Sub-editor K.Ellamani, 60, said he has nowhere to go should Makkal Osai cease operation.
"This is the only job I can do," he added.
Security guard R.Batumalai, 48, was visibly shocked by the decision.
"I am already old. What kind of job can I hope to get" he said.
Makkal Osai's permit was suspended for one month in August last
year after it printed an advertisement with the caricature of Jesus
holding a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other.
CIJ And WAMI Urge Goverment To Consider Appeal By Makkal Osai
KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 (Bernama) -- The Centre of Independent
Journalism (CIJ) and Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
have asked the government to consider the appeal by Tamil newspaper
"Makkal Osai" whose publication permit was not renewed by the Home
CIJ and WAMI want the government to give the paper a second chance.
"We were dismayed with the Home Ministry's decision to reject Makkal Osai's publication permit renewal.
"The ministry's refusal to renew the permit shows no sign of
reforming towards greater openness and to be more attentive to the
"During the just-concluded general election, Makkal Osai
relatively gave more coverage to the opposition and may be this was the
reason why the daily was punishment for.
"The paper usually published more pro-government stories before
the election but changed its trend...a sign of the strain due to the
uncertainty of its permit approval," they said in a statement.
Makkal Osai ban and ‘open ears’ don’t sit well together
Friday, 18 April 2008 Aliran
2000-Aliran is appalled at the Home Ministry’s rejection of a
permit application by the Makkal Osai management - which is
presumably due to the Tamil daily’s coverage of the Opposition
besides giving the BN wider coverage.
makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s post-election promise to
keep all ears open to comments, criticism and information that might
serve as useful feedback to the federal government.
more confounding is that the Home Ministry’s action suggests that
important lessons from the electoral results - one of which is that
the party didn’t feel carefully the nation’s pulse on the
ground - have been lost on the ruling BN,
disturbing is that the ruling BN seems to have recoiled to its old
fossilised self, refusing to respond and adapt adequately to the new
political realities. It is still incapable of appreciating the
importance of freedom of expression and of the media.
Home Ministry should take note of the Information Minister’s recent
remarks that the credibility of the mainstream media has been
perceived by the general public as wanting.
call upon the government to grant the publishing permit to Makkal
Osai without delay. In fact, the government should repeal all
restrictive media laws and institute a Freedom of Information Act in
the near future.
Mustafa K Anuar & Anil Netto