Press Statement by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee on
New Straits Times Suit Against Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Atan

21 Jan 2007

wws-drlimteckghee.jpgI would like to call on fellow Malaysians to express their concern in the strongest possible way on the defamation suit filed by the NST and NST executives against Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi.

The action by the NST and its officials is not simply an attempt at muzzling two prominent bloggers. It is also aimed at stifling critical public comment on key national issues, much of which is regularly purged from the mainstream media.

All Malaysians concerned about the freedom of speech and the enlarged space for more independent news and commentary provided by Screenshots, Rocky’s Bru and other citizen bloggers should rally in support of Ahirudin and Jeff.

The Malaysian Government should also not think it is an uninterested party. Already the action has received a great deal of international coverage and attention. The pursuit of the legal action will give an even bigger black eye to the country’s record on the rigid control of the media and restricted media freedom.

Finally, I would like to appeal to the sense of responsibility and higher patriotic spirit of the NST and associated suing parties to withdraw their legal action as this is a case that can cripple the development of a freer media in Malaysia.

Dr Lim is former director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, and a former UN researcher.