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KEADILAN Youth is extremely disappointed with the block on Sarawak report

KEADILAN Youth is extremely disappointed and concerned about the government’s decision to block the Sarawak Report investigative journalism website.

At the same time, the Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s defence of the government’s action is laughable.

His attitude makes a mockery of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s earlier claim that the “…days of government knows best” in Malaysia were over.

The Minister’s stance seems to suggest that he believes that Malaysians are immature and cannot think for themselves.

As a matter of fact, the recent debunking of Lester Melanyi’s claims against Sarawak Report has done a greater damage and put further negative light on the Minister and the government. The fact that they have been relying on the testimonies of a less than credible individual without performing any checks on his claims highlights their incompetence.

Lester has admitted to being paid to confess, and had discretionally used the picture of a real person in London to complement his bogus story of a fictional web designer that purportedly forged documents.

Relying on his claims has strong repercussions to our country’s reputation.

Malaysian voters can now truly judge for themselves what the senior members of this current administration really think of them.

Rather than resort to blanket denials or banning websites, the government ought to have comprehensively answered the allegations that the Sarawak Report and other media outlets have raised.

This however has not been the case and only heightens the mistrust that ordinary Malaysians feel.

Banning websites or media is not something that mature democracies or developed nations do.

Indeed, this action will only serve to tarnish Malaysia’s already damaged reputation on the world stage. As of right now, the news of the banning has already been picked up by the international media, including UK’s The Guardian.

The government must lift the restrictions now as well as conduct a full and independent investigation into the allegations that have been raised.

It must also commit to ending repressive controls on the press.