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M'sian paper accused of 'insensitivity'

The Star newspaper must explain why action should not be taken against it, including having its printing licence suspended under the Printing and Publications Act 1984, for portraying Muslims in a bad light on its front page, said Malaysian Home Ministry secretary-general Alwi Ibrahim yesterday.

The front page on Saturday had a photo of Muslims performing prayers sandwiched between the headline 'Malaysian Terrorist Leader' and a spa advertisement. The newspaper issued an apology the next day after widespread criticism.

Mr Alwi said the front page made it look as though those performing the prayer were terrorists, the Malay Mail reported.

"Local daily The Star is given seven days to respond to the show cause letter on why action should not be taken… including having its printing permit suspended," he said in a statement.

The Star's executive editors Rozaid Abdul Rahman, Brian Martin and Dorairaj Nadason, and specialist editor M. Shanmugam were seen entering the ministry yesterday morning to provide an explanation.

The issue triggered criticisms from netizens, social organisations and even political parties that described the cover as a "misleading visual representation" apart from being insensitive to Muslims.

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