Malaysia shuts leading Tamil daily

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Singapore, Apr 17: The Malaysian government has imposed a ban on a Tamil newspaper ''Makkal Osai'' , rejecting its renewal application. The Home Ministry has turned down Makkal Osai's application for publication permit renewal, Tamil daily's general manager S M Periasamy said. The management received the rejection letter from the ministry yesterday.

''We applied for the permit on July 18 last year as our permit was expiring in October 2007. Although our permit has expired, we continued our publication while waiting for an answer from the ministry,'' he said. However, the management will appeal against the decision today. ''We will meet with the ministry's officials today to appeal. We hope the ministry will help us,'' Bernama news agency quoted him as saying.

Periasamy said he was concerned about the well-being of the newspaper's 102 workers following the ministry's decision not to renew the publication.

''We have been operating since 1992. Just imagine what the workers are going to do now. How are they going to survive?'' he said, adding that the newspaper's daily publication was about 52,000 copies nationwide.

Last August, the then Internal Security Ministy suspended Makkal Osai's printing permit for publishing a caricature depicting Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and what appeared to be a can of beer in its ''Quote of the Day'' column in its Aug 21 edition.

UNI

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