Home ministry issues show cause letter to The Star

The daily has seven days to explain why the ministry shouldn’t take action against it.

The home ministry has issued a show cause letter to English daily The Star over its Saturday’s front page blunder that has led to many calling for the daily to be suspended.

The ministry, in a statement today, stated that the daily has seven days to reply to the show cause letter and explain why the ministry shouldn’t take action against it under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The suspension of its publishing permit is also a possibility, said the ministry, adding that the layout of the front page could confuse the public, give rise to misunderstanding, and prejudice towards the Muslims who may be linked to terrorism.

“It has also indirectly mocked the religion of Islam.

“The press is responsible for ensuring that the unity and harmony of the multiracial and multi-religious society is always protected.”

The ministry also reminded the press to avoid publishing sensitive material that could affect public peace.

The Star’s editors today met the home ministry over the front page, which featured the headline news “Malaysian terrorist leader”, along with its separate front-page photo below the headline which showed Muslims at prayer.

However members of the public, along with leaders from both sides of the political divide, condemned the front page which they said made all Muslims look like terrorists.

The Star issued an apology for its “poor judgment”.

According to the daily, it was its practice to publish pictures of Muslims performing tarawih prayers on the front page on the first day of Ramadan as a mark of respect for the holy month.

“This year, there was an unfortunate coincidence of the lead story being of a terrorist leader, that led to many linking the headline and the picture, which was never the intention of the newspaper.

“We sincerely apologise for the error of judgment on our part,” it said in a statement.