KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 ― The Home Ministry has suspended the publishing permits of two influential local financial publications for three months starting next Monday, its publisher and owner The Edge Media Group said today.
Citing a Home Ministry letter, The Edge Media Group confirmed the order to stop publishing The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily.
“KDN stated that the two publications' reporting of 1MDB were ‘prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial to public order, security or likely to alarm public opinion or is likely to be prejudicial to public and national interest’,” the group said in a statement today, referring to the Home Ministry by its Malay initials.
The Home Ministry’s letter also said that failure to stop publication for three months will result in the publishing permits being withdrawn, it added.
The two publications mentioned have been running reports on the controversial 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), an investment firm owned by the Ministry of Finance.
At the time of writing, the Home Ministry has not posted any media statement regarding the suspension orders on its website, its official Facebook or Twitter account.
In response, The Edge Media group, which has a workforce of around 350 for its Malaysian operations, said it will explore other digital options to deliver the news.
On July 1, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid announced his ministry had issued a show-cause letter to The Edge for publishing what the government deemed to be unverified news on debt-laden 1MDB.
From then, rumours started spreading that The Edge would be suspended, with parallels drawn with the government action against another newspaper, The Star back in 1987.
On Tuesday, The Edge published a series of reports detailing Penang-born tycoon Low Taek Jho’s alleged role in the multi-billion-ringgit controversy, and hinted that it could be its last article on the scandal.
The business paper is under investigation for its previous articles on the scandal which claimed that the US$1.83 billion (RM6.96 billion) that state-owned 1MDB had invested in Middle Eastern oil company PetroSaudi International (PSI) between 2009 and 2011 was a scheme to defraud Malaysia that involved Low.
1MDB is currently under investigation by at least four federal agencies.
Global attention has also turned onto the investment company fully-owned by the Ministry of Finance after US-based daily The Wall Street Journal exposed a money trail linking cash deposits from 1MDB into bank accounts purportedly owned by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.