By HAMDAN RAJA ABDULLAH
MUAR: The Barisan Nasional Government must do away with draconian laws to make Malaysia a “true people-friendly nation”, Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said it was time for the Government to also review those laws related to printing and publications towards giving more freedom to the press.
“We are no longer fighting the communist rebels and any draconian law, including those which restrict the press, should be reviewed.
“We want more freedom to be given to the press but we also want the media to be ethical and not abuse the freedom,” he said after a dialogue with some 2,000 Umno members from four divisions here on Sunday.
Tengku Razaleigh, who is Gua Musang MP, said he also supported MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting’s call for the Home Ministry to waive the annual renewal for printing permits imposed on newspapers.
Concurring with Ong, he said there were enough laws governing the print media, and waiving the annual renewal permits would lead to a more healthy government.
Earlier, he told Umno members that the grassroots should be the ones to elect leaders - from the branch level to the supreme council - to curb money politics.
He said state party chiefs should also be elected by the divisions and be not appointed by the top leadership. This, he added, would make the chiefs respect and obey the grassroots.
Meanwhile, organising chairman of the dialogue Datuk Kadar Shah Tun Sulaiman said Umno needed a revamp and a new leadership, and urged Umno divisions in the country to nominate Tengku Razaleigh to contest for the presidency in December