The Centre for Independent Journalism is a non-profit organisation promoting media independence and freedom of expression in Malaysia.
We, the undersigned organisations, call for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the lawsuit filed by Adham Baba against the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) at once!
Transparency and accountability to the people is the hallmark of any democratic government. This can only be fulfilled if all members of the government are subjected to constant public scrutiny in the administration of the country, which includes criticism by civil society. Any allegation of misconduct should not be construed as an attack against the administration, but a collaborative effort to improve governance for the benefit of all.
It has become clear now that the administration of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) Government is a return to the politics of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 61-year rule of intimidation and suppression of freedom of speech. The RM30 million lawsuit against C4 for relaying statutory, publicly available information, and for requesting transparency on the part of the minister is preposterous. The civil suit filed by the minister is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and silence critics.
The freedom of speech and expression are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and must be respected by all parties; more so the government, which is supposed to be accountable to the people. While the minister has his right to civil remedy, the lack of any attempt to publicly address the concerns raised only cast further doubt as to his integrity.
Any attempt to stifle critics in such a manner is nothing more than an insult to the peoples’ aspiration for change in the 14th General Elections. As Malaysian citizens, we denounce and oppose any attempts to muzzle and crackdown on journalists and watchdogs through security, legal and political apparatus of the State.
C4 is a reputable and vital organisation in our country that has time and again revealed corruption scandals involving the highest echelons of government and contributed to Malaysia’s improvement on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) and World Press Freedom Index (WPFI).
We reiterate the call for the Minister of Health, Adham Baba to withdraw his threat against C4 and call on the administration to involve watchdogs and whistleblowers as collaborators to on-going investigations into the alleged corruption and possible misconduct within the Ministry of Health and censure the Minister for the poor handling of the matter thus far.
14 May 2020