Opposition party papers seized as nationwide crackdown begins

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By Amin Iskandar
Assistant News Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Over a thousand copies of PAS-owned Malay newspaper Harakah as well as DAP-owned The Rocket and PKR’s Suara Keadilan were carted off by home ministry officials from shops and several distribution centres in a nationwide raid today, as Putrajaya mounts an apparent crackdown against Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters.

In a separate operation, the police also detained three men, including PKR’s MP for Batu, Chua Tian Chang, here today for investigation into sedition since the May 5 general election.

“Ya, Harakah was seized at several places this morning,” the paper’s editor, Zulkifli Sulong, told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

The seized copies were of the paper’s Friday edition dated May 24-26 carrying the front page headline “GST hadiah BN untuk rakyat [GST BN’s gift to the people]”.

Its online edition had earlier reported Harakah’s marketing manager Ahmad Faisal Tawang saying he had received phone calls this morning from several distributors who informed him that the home ministry’s officials were carrying out a sting to seize copies of the newspaper.

Home ministry officials had grabbed the paper from not only from the distribution centres but from shops and even from the back of lorries as they arrived at the distribution centres.

In Malacca, Harakah reported more than 500 copies seized, while in Alor Star, Kedah, as many as 1,000 copies were taken.

“In Seremban, Negri Sembilan, the distribution centres were also raided by KDN,” Ahmad Faisal was quoted saying, using the Malay initials for the home ministry, adding,”But in Kedah, the KDN did not show their enforcement cards and letter from KDN before acting.

In a brief statement issued by the home ministry’s corporate communications division this afternoon, the government said move was made after the three party papers breached the law under the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984.

“The Home Ministry (KDN) had conducted an operation to enforce the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 (Amendment) 2012 and taken 1,408 copies of the Suara Keadilan tabloid, 1,062 copies of Harakah and 70 copies of The Rocket.

“This act to hold was made over failure to fulfil the conditions laid out in the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 (Amendment) 2012 under Section 5 in which it is an 'offence to print, import, publish a newspaper without permit', breaching the conditions of the permit which is for distribution of members only as set by the Home Ministry.

“The enforcement operation was implemented at premises that sold the tabloid nationwide that started on 22 May 2013 taking into account monitoring action and reprimands that had been conducted by the Home Ministry before this,” the statement said.

The home ministry also warned that it will continue to enforce the law “to ensure all parties do not breach the Act”.

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