While the police are probing The Star for sedition over its controversial front page, Perkasa offers an insight into why only The Star and not the other two newspapers that had almost similar front pages should be taken to task.
Five editors and a photographer from The Star arrived at Bukit Aman at about 11.30am today to have their statements taken. They were specialist editor M Shanmugam, executive editors Brian Martin, Dorairaj Nadason, Rozaid Abdul Rahman and Errol Oh, as well as photographer Mohd Sahar Misni.
The group were accompanied by lawyers Amer Hamzah Arshad and New Sin Yew.
The Star came under fire for its controversial front page which featured a picture of Muslims performing their terawih prayers under a summary of a story with the ‘Malaysian terrorist leader‘.
On Monday, the Home Ministry issued the newspaper a show-cause letter, giving it seven days to explain why action should not be taken against it under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.
Yesterday, two of The Star’s senior editors, Datuk Leanne Goh Lee Yen and Dorairaj were suspended from their duties pending investigations into the incident.
Amer Hamzah Arshad told FMT news portal that the session, which lasted about two hours, and “went smoothly”.
“We believe the police will investigate the matter fairly and objectively.
“(They are being investigated) under Section 298A of the Penal Code and Section 4 of the Sedition Act,” he said.
Section 298A refers to causing disharmony, disunity and hatred by words either written or spoken, and those found guilty of it will face up to one-year imprisonment or a fine or both.
Section 4 of the Sedition Act pertains to the uttering of seditious words, or printing, publishing or importing of seditious literature.
Under this section, anyone convicted faces a jail term of up to three years, a fine of not more than RM5,000, or both.
Utusan Malaysia and The New Straits Times had also featured similar headlines and photographs on their front pages.
According to The Malaysian Insight, Perkasa – which urged the home ministry to suspend The Star’s licence for a year – said action should be taken against The Star but not the other two publications as it was not the first time the English daily made errors that angered Muslims.
“There was also a photo of a half-naked woman getting a massage beneath the photograph of Muslims performing terawih prayers,” Perkasa women’s wing chief Foziah Nawawi said, in reference to a spa advertisement.
She added that Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times had more than one headline on their front pages.