Melon Farmers Original Version

Press Censorship in Malaysia

Newspapers forced to toe the government line


Fake news law...

All the hallmarks of a new government weapon for suppressing media freedom and censoring significant corruption claims

Link Here30th March 2018
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, currently embroiled in an epic corruption scandal, is proposing a law that would impose stiff fines and jail sentences on those who publish what it deems fake news. The proposed law is a warning of the danger when governments decide what is true and what is not.

Najib, seeking reelection to a third term, is being investigated by several countries, including the United States, on allegations that he and close associates diverted $4.5 billion from a Malaysian government investment fund for their own use. An inevitable outcome of the law, should it be passed, would be to chill media discussion of the corruption scandal.

The legislation would define as fake news any news, information, data and reports which are wholly or partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other form capable of suggesting words or ideas. It would cover those who create, offer, circulate, print or publish fake news or publications containing fake news, and impose a 10-year jail term, a fine of up to $128,000, or both, at the whim of the government. The law would apply to those overseas as well as inside Malaysia.


6th July

Update: Morally Bankrupt...

Malaysia bans opposition newspaper

The Malaysian government has suspended the publication of a main opposition newspaper in a move political rivals criticised as a crackdown on dissent.

Suara Keadilan, run by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party, ran into trouble after the authorities said it violated publishing laws with a report this month which claimed a government agency is bankrupt.

The Home Ministry, which oversees Malaysia's newspapers, said it will not renew Suara Keadilan's permit as it was not satisfied with the paper's explanation for the allegedly inaccurate report.

A letter will be issued to inform the printer that it is not allowed to print until a decision is made on the renewal of its permit, the ministry said in a statement.

The opposition vowed to defy the ban.

Update: 4th Ban

20th July 2010. Based on article from

A fourth newspaper has been forced to close in Kuala Lumpur following the government's crackdown on publishing licenses. The suspension of Hakhah's printing office follows the closure of the newspapers Suara Keadilan, Kabar Era Pakatan and Rocket on 30 June.

Suara Keadilan, a leading critical voice in Malaysia, is reported to have been shut down for publishing false news that could incite public unrest. Local activists claim that Prime Minister Najib Razak's government is attempting to silence critical publications ahead of national elections.


7th June

Update: Malays Betrayed?...

Malaysian newspaper suspended over race issues

The Centre for Independent Journalism strongly disagrees with calls to suspend Malay daily Utusan Malaysia for publishing commentary with racial undertone and to penalise its author, who writes under the pseudonym Awang Selamat, with the Sedition Act.

On 3 June, the Malaysian Indian Congress  president, S. Samy Vellu urged the authorities to charge Awang Selamat, under the Sedition Act. This followed the publication of an article Malays betrayed? published in the daily's column on 31 May, in which non-Malays were said to have over demanded their rights.

Open and civil discussions on race and religion are instrumental for nation-building. Through such discussion, the norms and mores of free expression, such as the ethical boundaries would evolve. But to ban certain views, especially by giving absolute powers to the state to censor, is a grave violation of freedom of expression for the individual and the community.

We call on all political leaders and opinion leaders to emphasize the importance of dialogue and debates and refrain from demanding for the use of undemocratic laws. We also urge the editors of Utusan Malaysia to create spaces in the newspaper for those with differing views and opinions on the issue and show that it is interested in constructive engagement.

Censor Watch logo





Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information