KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The Home Ministry has issued a show-cause letter to The Edge over what Putrajaya deemed to be unverified news that was published by the business paper on debt-laden 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
An official with the ministry confirmed that the letter was sent to the publication, but did not reveal further details.
“We are in the midst of preparing a statement now and all the details will be there,” said the official when contacted by Malay Mail Online.
The show-cause letter comes a little over a week after Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi declared that the federal government will go after The Edge for publishing what it deems to be unverified news on 1MDB’s aborted joint venture with Petrosaudi International.
Ahmad Zahid said the authorities will investigate the business paper following the arrest of a former PetroSaudi executive believed to be the source of the leaked documents on an abortive US$1.2 billion (RM4.5 billion) 1MDB-PetroSaudi venture from which hundreds of millions were allegedly siphoned out.
The home minister said after receiving a report on the arrest from their Thai counterparts that included forensic analysis of the leaked data, that the Malaysian authorities concluded the documents had been tampered with in a bid to tarnish the joint venture.
“We found from the forensic aspect that the leaked data downloaded by the former executive with malicious intent... to distort facts about the transaction between 1MDB and PetroSaudi and the leaked data was published in Sarawak Report and The Edge.
“And since we are responsible to monitor any publication that gets its licences from [the Home Ministry] so we feel that they will have to bear full responsibility to face any action if they were found to have cherry-picked or were selective or intentionally distorting facts with bad intentions,” Zahid reportedly said.
Zahid also urged the Malaysian Communication Multimedia Commission to investigate and act against Sarawak Report, the whistleblower website that published the alleged leaked email correspondence between 1MDB and PetroSaudi.