Malaysia has suspended publication of a main opposition newspaper, in a move political rivals criticised as a crackdown on dissent.
Suara Keadilan, run by the Keadilan party of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (pictured), ran into trouble after the authorities said it violated publishing laws with a report this month claiming a government agency was bankrupt.
The Home Ministry, which oversees newspapers, said it would not renew Suara Keadilan's permit, as it was not satisfied with the paper's explanation for the report. The opposition vowed to defy the ban.
Malaysia's mainstream media is largely government-linked, and the opposition relies on its own press, as well as internet news sites and blogs, to communicate with the public.
''I am shocked. This is utter rubbish and certainly it is not an isolated incident. The government is trying to crack down on dissent. This is an interference on press freedom,'' said Lee Boon Chye, vice-president of the Keadilan party. ''With or without permit, we are going to publish our paper.''
Reporters Without Borders ranked Malaysia 131 out of 175 on its worldwide press freedom index last year