Thursday, July 25, 2013

Haul up Utusan over ‘false news’, DAP demands

Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia must be punished for disseminating “false news” that the police planned to use the Sedition Act over the Seri Pristana fiasco, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng demanded today.

According to the Bagan MP, this was a new low even for the newspaper that “openly called for the bloody May 13 racial riots that killed thousands of innocent Malaysians to be celebrated as a holy day.”

“Nothing is beyond Utusan Malaysia,” Lim (picture) said in a statement.

“[The] public had had enough of lies spread by Utusan Malaysia to foment fear and hate amongst Malaysia’s multi-religious society.”

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Earlier today, Selangor acting police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan refuted a report claiming he said authorities will investigate for sedition the distribution of photographs showing students eating in a primary school bathroom.

According to Chinese-language newspaper Sin Chew Daily, Thaiveegan denied saying or inferring that the Sedition Act may be used in the case or related incidents.

Although he did not expressly name the offending newspaper, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia had published an article yesterday that quoted him as issuing such a warning to users of social media.

Given Thaiveegan’s clarification, Lim said it was now imperative to take the newspaper to task.

“Firm action should be taken against Utusan Malaysia under the Printing Presses & Publications Act 1984 or Multimedia and Communications Act 1998 for false news that police will be using the Sedition Act against those who spread photos of the makeshift canteen in shower room controversy,” he said.

But despite his call, Lim also expressed doubts that any will be forthcoming given the double standards and selective prosecution that he accused the Barisan Nasional government of practising.

“Witness the failure to punish Perkasa leaders Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin for their calls respectively to burn the Bible and make insults against Hindus.

“Worse Umno ministers like Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman’s shocking refusal to condemn Ibrahim Ali’s call to burn the Bible or that Ibrahim Ali should apologise and be punished.”

On Tuesday, a mother by the name of Guneswari Kelly posted on social network Facebook photographs that appeared to show several non-Muslim children and even adults at a school named as SRK Seri Pristana in Sungai Buloh taking their recess in the lavatory even as the school canteen went unoccupied.

According to her, the children were directed not to use the canteen — shown cordoned off in the pictures — as they would “dirty” the area. Instead, they were told to go to the school’s changing rooms and lavatories, and ordered to stay there for the duration of their recess.

A day after a firestorm erupted over images, Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan declared the issue closed following an apology from the school head.

The eating area in the bathroom has since been closed and the children directed to once again take their meals at the school canteen.

Following the controversy, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, confirmed on his Twitter page that the incident will be investigated and punishment meted to those responsible.

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