Archive for October 16th, 2007

Who lied? Zam or Pak Lah?

Who lied? Was it the Information Minister, Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin or the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi himself?

On Friday, 6th October 2007, speaking at the Gerakan National Delegates Conference, Abdullah called on “leaders, especially those in Barisan Nasional” to tell him the truth and to stop “be in a state of denial”.

He exhorted:

“Tell the truth, even if it is painful.

“The prime minister must have the courage and readiness to listen even to the worst stories, whether it is related to the country or himself. Never allow yourself to sink in a hole of denial and feel that everything is alright.”

Four days later, on Wednesday 10th October 2007, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin summoned top media editors to a special briefing and in the name of the Prime Minister, laid down the law that

  • Abdullah’s pledge to “hear the truth” does not apply to the media as it was restricted to Barisan Nasional leaders and government officials; and
  • the Prime Minister’s repeated pledges to “listen to the truth” did not mean that the media have the green light to “practice unrestrained reporting”.

It is a reflection of the deplorable state of press freedom in Malaysia that no mainstream media had protested or written about Zainuddin’s violation of a free press, especially under a Prime Minister who had pledged greater openness, accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance!

In fact, Zainuddin’s summoning of the top media editors to direct them what to print and what not to print would be completely unthinkable in the past 50 years of the nation’s development, as no Information Minister would have such temerity to regard himself as the Comptroller-General of the Press. Read the rest of this entry »