Malaysia is fed up with the barbaric treatment of the media and media personnel that culminated two days ago when a Tamil daily, Tamil Malar was attacked by a gang, allegedly led by a MIC leader as reported in the media.
Tapah MP and Deputy Youth and Sports Minister M Saravanan was seen when a gang harrassed and later violently attacked the management and staff of the Tamil daily on a video that has since gone viral.
The attack on Tamil Malar was due to a published article that exposed Saravanan for allegedly stealing from the rental collection of the state MIC building, as admitted by the MIC man in media reports.
At the same time world was shocked and saddened by the merciless killing of a prominent Indian journalist, Gauri Lankesh, 55, who was critical of Hindu nationalist politics.
She was shot dead in the southern state of Karnataka.
Is this what Malaysia, the police and government is waiting for before acting against those who threaten the media and media practitioners in Malaysia? Does it need to go that far?
Luckily no one was harmed in such manner in the incident against Tamil Malar, but given the heated circumstance and the presence of gangsters, one could ask the questions, what if it happened? What then?
The police should make an example out of Saravanan to deter such actions from ever happening again. Not taking action would simply mean threats such as the one Saravanan made against Tamil Malar was tolerated and a norm in the country.
I urge the newly minted Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun to take the sternest action possible against Saravanan and the gang members involved.
I also urge the Prime Minister Najib Razak to lead by example and remove Saravanan as deputy minister and urge the MIC president to remove him from the party.
This and only this will send a clear message that the media in Malaysia was an important and valued institution of check and balance for the people.