Ex-DPM's grandson says it will hit investments and create fear that will see money flowing out of the country.
PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to block The Malaysian Insider will backfire on the government and, worse, the country.
This warning came from Tariq Ismail, grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.
He said while those from the government’s side may applaud the clamping down on voices of dissent, they should bear in mind that media freedom was one of the pull factors for foreign investors.
“Everything is about perception. Perception is what attracts or detracts investors.
“In the long run, like it or not, fact or fiction or twisted truth, international companies will look at media freedom as one of the benchmarks to make an informed decision on whether to invest in a country or not.
“Let’s look at the facts. Countries where media freedom is practised receive the most investments.
“Of course, this is not the only benchmark but it helps,” said Tariq in a Facebook posting today.
He labelled the blocking of The Malaysian Insider as a “myopic idiotic decision” that would create panic and fear which would see money floating out of the country and, subsequently, result in the Malaysian currency dropping even further.
MCMC, in a statement yesterday, said it had restricted access to the news portal after it released content which was considered an offence under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
The restriction by MCMC was also based on complaints and information received from the public.