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Media blackout or self-censorship  of unpleasant or unfavourable news under Abdullah administration is getting as bad or even worse than the 22-year Mahathir premiership

Media Statement       
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The media blackout or self-censorship of unpleasant or unfavourable news under the Abdullah administration is getting as bad or even worse than the 22-year Mahathir premiership. 

The latest example is the blackout  in the local media of a survey by the Singapore American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) released on Friday that executives of United  States companies in Southeast Asia say corruption is a "major impediment" to doing business in five countries in the region, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Singapore was the only country in the survey where corruption was not considered a major issue.

The lack of predictability and stability in government regulations were also major concerns for American companies doing business in ASEAN countries.

In the survey, 62 percent of the AmCham members expect Southeast Asia to become more prominent in the next two years as it continues its strong economic growth.

The survey, however, also showed that corruption was a major factor for American firms operating in the region. Indonesia was deemed most corrupt, with 86 percent of the survey respondents claiming corruption practices was a major concern. About 72 percent said it is a factor in the Philippines; 67 percent in Vietnam; 63 percent in Thailand; and 51 percent in Malaysia.

This episode is a most adverse reflection both on the media and anti-corruption policies and record of the government, completely at variance with the reform pledge and agenda promised by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that he will lead not only a clean and incorruptible government of integrity, but also one which is open, accountable, transparent, which respects freedom of information and committed to hear the truth. 

Malaysians share in the joy that the Prime Minister is happily married yesterday. They have only one wish, that a happy Prime Minister can impress on his Cabinet and government to assure the happiness of the people where they can begin to see the fruition of Abdullah’s reform pledge and agenda, particularly to fight corruption and promote media freedom.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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