In a move that appears to be geared towards handicapping the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) machinery ahead of the three by-elections on April 7, Suara Keadilan and Harakah have been banned for three months by the Home Ministry with immediate effect.
The party organs of Pas and PKR respectively were informed of the decision around 5pm this evening by fax with no reason given.
This effectively bars them from covering the Umno general assembly and the Bukit Gantang, Bukit Selambau and Batang Ai by-elections.
The letter to Harakah was addressed to Pas secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, who told The Malaysian Insider that the suspension would put PR campaigns at an unfair disadvantage.
“This comes at a time when it is most crucial for us to disseminate information to supporters,” he said.
“Such moves do not give us confidence in the future administration given the events of recent weeks,” he said referring to what has been perceived as strong arm tactics by incoming prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, especially with regards to the Perak power grab on Feb 5.
He added that the party would appeal to Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to reinstate Harakah.
Suara Keadilan editor Zulkiflee Anwar Al-Haq told The Malaysian Insider that until a decision was made by the party leadership, it would continue operations.
He added that PKR leaders would announce its decision at a press conference to be held at Parliament tomorrow.
In the aftermath of the Perak crisis last month, thousands of copies of both publications were seized.
On Feb 26, the Home Ministry had also ordered Harakah to show cause over the offences of public distribution and publishing content on current issues as its printing permit allowed it to distribute within party premises and report on party matters only.