KUALA LUMPUR, 3 April 2009: PAS, in welcoming the decision by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to retract the suspension order on two papers — Harakah and Suara Keadilan — today, said the decision would reinforce democracy in the country.
PAS Youth Chief Sallehuddin Ayob said the decision to retract the suspension order was a sign of giving back the press freedom that was earlier awarded to the papers.
“To further stimulate the democratic action, we hope the Prime Minister will give both papers a licence to operate as dailies,” he said when contacted here today.
Though Najib did not particularly mention the names of the two papers during his maiden speech today, it was evident that he was referring to Harakah and Suara Keadilan that were initially suspended for three months, starting 23 March, he said.
Salahuddin said Najib’s action would certainly hoist the country’s rating in the world of democracy and the decision to release 13 ISA detainees and review the ISA act would bring about new hope for the abolishment of ISA.
Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) information chief Tian Chua said lifting the suspension on Harakah and Suara Keadilan was “a people’s victory”.
The member of parliament for Batu claimed “the party has successfully put pressure to gain some concession from the government”, following the suspension on the two party publications on 23 March.
“However, what we demand is a real reform, that is, when the ISA (Internal Security Act) and Printing Presses and Publications Act are abolished,” he told Bernama when contacted.
PAS and PKR had strongly condemned the three-month suspension when the two publications violated the conditions of their permits.
Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow welcomed the move, saying it augured well for democracy in the country.
In a press statement, he said that Najib had shown his commitment to change and reform the government.
“We also hope that the government will continue to move in line with the hopes and aspirations of the people,” he said. — Bernama