KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional leaders have called for The Economist to be banned following its disparaging remarks on the development of Malaysia and the progress made under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad in its April 5 edition.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, also Umno supreme council member, said foreign magazines that published articles condemning Malaysia should not be sold in the country.
“When they start writing political things like this, including belittling our country and discrediting our leaders – they must be having their own agenda,” he said after opening the Kepong Umno division meeting yesterday.
The Economist had published an article titled “The Changing of the Guard – A Survey of Malaysia” which contained strong attacks against Dr Mahathir's leadership.
In Penang, Puteri Umno chief Azalina Othman Said said the Government should ban the distribution of the magazine and its office in Malaysia should be closed down as it had shown blatant disrespect to a democratically-elected government.
“We want the distribution of the magazine banned as we have no respect for a magazine which has no respect for our Government,” she said after opening the Jelutong Umno delegates’ conference.
In Petaling Jaya, MCA vice-president Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said Dr Mahathir’s achievement in transforming the country into one of the fastest developing countries was apparent for all Malaysians to see.
“If the writer is a gentleman, he should apologise to Dr Mahathir and Malaysia,” said the Human Resources Minister.
Central committee member Datuk Chor Chee Heung, also the Deputy Home Minister, said the foreign media should check their facts with the Government to avoid any misinformation on the country in future.
“The Economist should apologise for their misinformation and should be more careful the next time,” he said.
MCA Youth international bureau chief Fam Lee Ee said the Western media could never change what Dr Mahathir had done for this country, adding that the magazine should apologise.
In Klang, MCA central committee member Datuk Donald Lim said the party would send a protest note to the publisher.
The article was biased, unfair and far from the truth, and thus the magazine should apologise immediately, he said after opening a district-level calligraphy contest at SJK Pin Hwa.
In Sungai Siput, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the magazine should pay compensation to Malaysia for tarnishing the image of the country and for smearing the good name of Dr Mahathir.
“These people should respect us as a democratic country instead of making wild accusations without knowing our country and knowing what happens here,” he said after attending the opening of the Sungai Siput Umno division meeting.
In Batu Pahat, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak supported the call by Abdullah for the magazine to apologise.
“We certainly do not tolerate this rudeness and stereotype mentality,” he said after opening the Parit Sulong Umno division meeting.
In Kuching, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said Malaysians should not be unduly worried about the magazine's criticisms because it had already lost credibility.
“The magazine’s image had been tarnished after it conspired with American weekly newsmagazines to legitimise the big powers’ invasion of Iraq,” he said after visiting the Serikin district.
In a statement, DAP national chairman Lim Kit Siang commended Abdullah for taking an open and rational approach on the article by calling for the magazine to apologise.