KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Home Ministry has explained the three reasons behind the suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily for three months from July 27.
Firstly, the headings and reporting by the two publications raised questions and created negative public perceptions towards state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and also implicated the Government and national leaders, Bernama news agency reported.
Secondly, the news reports were based on doubtful and unverified information, which might alarm public opinion and could/might be prejudicial to public order and national interest, Bernama quoted the ministry as saying.
Thirdly, as 1MDB is being investigated, it is inappropriate for the continuous reporting of the issue to create negative perceptions. It is unfair to 1MDB and consequently, for the Government and national leaders, said the ministry.
In a statement late on Friday, Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Alwi Ibrahim said the suspension of the two publications was made after the ministry scrutinised their reports on 1MDB and the reply to the show-cause letters issued , Bernama reported.
"The two publications were found to contain articles which violated Section 7 (1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (amended 2012) which are prejudicial or may be prejudicial to public order, or may alarm public opinion or jeopardise public order and national interest," he said.
"The impact of irresponsible reports on public order and national interest should be carefully considered and they should not contravene the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 (amended 2012).
"The publication of the reports should also be done in accordance with the provisions in the publishing permit in force," he was quoted as saying.
In his response to the suspension notice, the publisher of The Edge, Ho Kay Tat, said: "We don't see how exposing the scam to cheat the people of Malaysia of billions of ringgit can be construed as being detrimental to public and national interest.
"This is nothing more than a move to shut us down in order to shut us up."
Mr Ho said the group would go to court and try to get the suspension lifted. He said the group's publications would continue to be available online.
IMDB, which racked up debts totalling RM42 billion (S$15 billion) in just five years, has become a political liability for the Prime Minister .
Najib has not denied the July 3 allegations by the Wall Street Journal and London-based website Sarawak Report that US$700 million (S$960 million) of 1MDB-linked funds were transferred into his personal accounts over the past two years, saying only that he has never used public money for personal gains.
Najib, who is also finance minister, chairs the advisory board of 1MDB.