Archive for September 22nd, 2010

Syabas, Hatta, for standing up for press freedom

by Thomas Lee
22nd Sept. 2010

I wish to commend and congratulate the newly-elected National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Hatta Wahari for making a bold and brave stand in defence of press freedom. It has been a long time since any leader of the NUJ has stuck his or her neck out to speak out against the abuse and exploitation of the media, especially in the mainstream newspapers.

In an interview with Malaysiakini, Hatta blamed the top editors of Utusan Malaysia for the daily’s frequent confrontation with politicians.

According to the senior journalist at Utusan, the conflicts are between Utusan chief editor Aziz Ishak, supported by the senior editors, against the politicians from both the Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat.

Hatta said it is unfair to fault the newspaper company per se with the alleged manipulation of its paper’s content by the editors with vested political interest.

He said there are many Utusan journalists, photographers, graphic artists and other staff members who do not agree with the agenda of the editors, but are powerless to do anything.

Obviously these lower-ranking journalists and staff members do not have any say in the decision-making process of the newspaper, let alone criticize or challenge the chief editor and senior editors on their political slant.

Hatta said the NUJ feels that the Utusan chief editor and senior editors do not advocate or practise press freedom, but merely take care of the interest of their political masters. Read the rest of this entry »


If it’s a problem, don’t recognise it

by Kee Thuan Chye
Sept 22, 2010


Idris Jala is a good speaker. If you listen to him and you don’t watch it, he will sell you an idea.

That’s what he did – or tried to do – when he gave the keynote address at the “We Are Malaysia” event hosted by UCSI University on Malaysia Day.

He spoke of 1Malaysia and its aims, and how national unity can be achieved. One of the central aims of 1Malaysia is upgrading the diverse population’s attitude towards one another from tolerance to acceptance and, eventually, the celebration of diversity. And one of the central strategies of achieving that is the recognition that, in Idris’ own words, “in life, there are only two types of issues”.

Sounds rather pat, as if coming from a self-enrichment guru. But as I said, Idris Jala (left) is a seller of ideas.

What are these two types of issues?

Problems and polarities. A problem, expounded Idris, is something that can be solved. A polarity is something that cannot be solved but must be managed. The examples of polarities he gave are old and young, urban and rural, good and evil, rich and poor. Like the North and South Poles, they cannot be removed; therefore a balance must be struck between them. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA Ministers should explain why MCA so deadset against my parliamentary question on police inaction on previous five-year police reports vis-a-vis Sosilawathi mass murders suspects

The four MCA Ministers should explain why the MCA is so deadest against my parliamentary question on police inaction on previous five-year police reports against the brother lawyers suspected of the heinous and gruesome Sosilawati mass murders that the MCA cybertrooper launched a concerted attack against me on twitter last night.

The cause of this MCA cybertrooper attack was my parliamentary question for the first day of the 34-sitting 2011 budget meeting of Parliament beginning on Oct. 11 which is addressed to the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, asking him “to list the date/nature of police reports lodged against the lawyer brothers in Banting suspected responsible for the Sosilawati mass murders, reasons for police inaction which have gravely undermined public confidence in police professionalism and latest actions on these police reports”.

Today, we read of another heart-rending story of a housewife, Samson Nahar Mohd Dali, 35, from Sungai Petani, whose husband Shafik Abdullah disappeared in April, being told by the police that there was a high probability that her missing husband had been murdered and was related to the Sosilawati mass murder suspects.

Shafik is among three people still listed as missing by police investigating the Sosilawai mass murders. The other two missing men have been identified as Indian businessman A. Muthuraja 34 and another businessman, identified as Thevaraj Shanmugam, 28, from Taiping.

Another case which police are working on is the murder of housewife T. Selvi, 44, who was slashed to death by two men outside her home in Banting in April last year. Read the rest of this entry »


How real is the Economic Transformation Programme?

The Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), the latest pronouncement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, follows upon a number of other pronouncements that have become the hallmark of Dato Seri Najib’s administration.

Like the previous pronouncements of 1Malaysia People First Performance Now, the Government Transformation Programme, the 10th Malaysia Five Year Plan, the ETP is rich in rhetoric.

The sloganeering and spin that is common to all of these exercises provides a clear indication that the Government led by Najib is wholly at sea in tackling the enormous challenges that the country faces.

These challenges have accumulated over the wasted three decades characterized by mismanagement, corruption and abuse of power that has benefited a small coterie.

A common feature of the series of announcements is that they contain unrealistic assumptions about economic growth prospects; they use clichés that are taken from business school texts that have been spun in order to create a false impression of a rethinking of policies.

The various announcements of “policies” and “strategies” are littered with a slew of abbreviations such as KPIs, NKRAs, MKRAs, NKEAs, EPPs and BIZ Ops are freely bandied about. Read the rest of this entry »