Enough is enough!

by Thomas Lee
2011-02-18 17:37

When announcing the establishment of the Penang Exco Non-Islamic Religious Affairs Committee early this week, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng pointed out that the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled Penang state government has been under siege with constant unwarranted attacks of being anti-Malay even over simple and small matters.

Even before the high-profile committee can start to meet to formulate its plan of action, the Umno newspaper Utusan Melayu has launched a harsh and raucous assault on it, claiming that it is a tool to sideline Islam, and bully the Muslims and Malay Rulers.

“To Muslim leaders and Muslims in Penang … beware the subtle and slick tactics of a certain leader to sideline Islam as the official religion and bypass the Conference of Rulers,” the Utusan said its Thursday 17 February 2011 edition.

The Utusan was commenting on the new state executive council portfolio initiated by Guan Eng to handle religious matters relating to the non-Islamic religions like Buddhisms, Christianity, Sikhism, Taoism and Hinduism.

The high-profile exco committee is headed by Guan Eng himself, with Deputy Chief Minister (II) Prof Dr P. Ramasamy as the deputy chairman.

The Utusan attack on the Pakatan Rakyat-controlled Penang state government is certainly not unexpected or surprising, given the fact that the Umno mouthpiece has been on an unbridled energetic campaign against the DAP and its secretary-general Guan Eng since the Barisan Nasional lost control of Penang after the March 2008 general election. The newspaper has lately become very ethno-centric and more race-centred in its reporting and writings.

In 2008, the Utusan campaigned against Selangor Senior Executive Councillor Teresa Kok of the DAP, accusing her of asking a Puchong mosque to stop playing the azan over its loudspeaker. Teresa was then arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA), but released a week later. She had denied the allegation while the mosque committee members also came forward to defend her.

In August 2010, the Utusan had played up a story on DAP Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching entering the worship area of the Surau Al-Huda in Kajang Sentral during a ceremony to present aid to PAS members. The unwarranted sensationalizing of the inadvertent unwitting incident using thoughtless and emotionally toned language to stir up negative feelings against Teo was certainly despicable.

Then in December 2010, the newspaper attacked Teo again for alleged failure to dress appropriately during her visit to a mosque. She was condemned for allegedly wearing tight-fitting clothes at an aerobics exercise programme in the mosque’s car park. The Utusan had accused Teo of not respecting Muslim sensitivities for not covering her aurat and wearing what it called a tight-fitting T-shirt and track pants.

In December 2010, the Utusan accused the DAP of being a tool of a foreign government and called for the party to be banned. A day after the Pakatan Rakyat national convention, the Malay daily also accused Guan Eng of being anti-Malay as it zeroed in its assault on the Penang Chief Minister and the DAP.

In its Monday 20 December 2010 edition, Utusan featured remarks by Umno leaders who, among others, called the DAP the “king of racism”.

There was also an article entitled “Guan Eng’s rudeness” that listed Guan Eng’s alleged anti-Malay acts.

The Utusan had also claimed that Guan Eng had banned a Maulidur Rasul procession, prevented Malay traders from participating in the Ramadan bazaar in Komtar, and demolished various villages.

The newspaper had also condemned Guan Eng for allegedly using gambling revenue to fund compassionate payments to Muslim senior citizens.

The Utusan had also quoted Umno vice-president and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that the DAP was a tool of a foreign power.

“Guan Eng should ask himself if the DAP is a true political party that represents Malaysians, or whether it wants to be a tool of a foreign country by hiding behind democracy,” Ahmad Zahid was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

The Utusan Malaysia had also reported Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim as claiming that the DAP worshipped Singapore.

Given all these accusations the Utusan has been making and is making against Guan Eng and the other DAP leaders, and its constant contemptible assaults on the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government, it is time perhaps for the people to put their act together and send a loud and clear message to the newspaper that enough is enough.

We should note that National Union of Journalists (NUJ) president Hata Wahari, himself a senior reporter with the Utusan, has urged the authorities to act against the Utusan editors for allegedly stoking racial sentiments in its reports. Hata had also blamed the drop in the daily’s sales on the editors for pushing what he called racial rhetoric.

As a journalist of 35-year standing and one who would die for the cause of free speech and free press, I would, of course, not recommend any boycott of the newspaper, especially when the rice bowls of hundreds of journalists and newspaper workers are at stake.

However, I believe a concerted effort by newspaper readers to bombard the editors with letters of protest, and to send a strong message via the ballot box at the next general election to Umno to stop the Utusan nonsense will perhaps help to elicit a thorough change in the newspaper’s editorial policy.

Enough is enough! The Utusan must be made to stop its hate campaign against the legitimately elected state government of Penang.

  1. #1 by tunglang on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 10:01 am

    Hello Utusan. What do you gain by hating? In fact you gain more hate from others who know the truth.
    Have you heard: “What goes around comes around”.

  2. #2 by Godfather on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 10:36 am

    I’m gonna send some rotten eggs in a parcel to Awang Selamat.

  3. #3 by undertaker888 on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 11:00 am

    umno goons, utusan included never learn. They have the most expensive brains in the world. Why? Bcos it is new and never used.

    have they looked at the Arab countries recently? do they think they still can hoodwink people at this era? if the nons did not rise up, sooner or not later it will be their kind that revolt. look at the almost homogenous society in the Arab countries.

    real stupid like mamak n ibelahhim.

  4. #4 by jus legitimum on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 11:03 am

    Utusan is only fit to be used as “kertas jamban” or toilet paper.It has repeatedly and shamelessly churned out writings attacking PR leaders especially DAP and its leaders.Most of the accusations lashed out by this wicked and devilish paper are mere lies and race cum religion slanted.All right thinking people should boycott the paper and condemn Umno the devious master behind it.

  5. #5 by jus legitimum on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 11:26 am

    It also shows double standards practised by Utusan’s real boss.Utusan can publish anything with immunity and impunity.But any other papers like Sin Chew or Star were to write anything criticising BN or Umno,they would apply the Press act to close down the papers.The thing that makes people furious and angry is that why Utusan is given the privilege to tell lies and incite a certain race and community and yet not punished.Obviously Utusan and its boss are behaving like bullies and they think the people are fools.

  6. #6 by dagen on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 12:11 pm

    Bodoh punya utusan.

    Why dont they report on something more worthy? Tell us utusan. Tell us why completion of puduraya upgrading works is delayed yet again – now to april? In the beginning it was scheduled as a 4 months work. Now it seems like it will take a year! Three times longer than planned. FT Min has the cheek to announce that the cost of RM52m (was this sum ever made public previously?) as initially planned will remain despite the delayed completion and despite all the extra works. Perhaps he thought that it was clever of him to announce that. But everyone in construction knows that any addition in works and any delay will cost money and will definitely balloon the project costs. So can we say that the original 52m is way way overpriced. In fact so overpriced that the contractor could absorb the addition in cost arising from the delay and the extra works without any problem and still make a profit?

  7. #7 by monsterball on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 2:21 pm

    Non stop idiotic double standard low class politics..wasting tax payers money.
    I am sure..LGE and PR always expect these corrupted bunch to keep attacking…especially when LGE is getting more supports from Penang folks.
    This is a sick country.

  8. #8 by pulau_sibu on Saturday, 19 February 2011 - 2:48 pm

    Happy 70th birthday, Uncle Lim. I don’t know if there will be a special column for us to express our gratitude to you, so I wrote it down here.

    70 years is a long period of time, but 70 years ‘young’ is not old. For your type of career, the more experience you accumulate, the better it is. I believe there will not be a second politician who will have your type of experience, especially the bad experience that you have gone through. It was because you have fought to make our society a better one, and you are continuing to fight for a better one for all of us.
    Indeed not many people were able to survive through like you. We saw some of your mates changed and reversed lane, eventually looking at their own benefit. But you are so different because you served the people. Some of the thing that I thought would never be happening in Malaysia, such as BN becoming an opposition in certain states, but you proved it to us. To our surprise, you did not seek for any post after PR secured the power of ruling in these states. I salute you and the several other DAP members who continued to fight without fear.

    Please take care of your health, and we wish you continued success in fighting for the people. 70 is another of your new beginning.

  9. #9 by boh-liao on Sunday, 20 February 2011 - 2:10 am

    “Going to church did not make me less of a Muslim when I was a young …..”
    “What is most important is that we regard one another as fellow citizens and treat each other with respect, regardless of our race or religion.”
    NR, MMK n UmnoB ppl must learn fr d author of d above article

  10. #10 by tak tahan on Sunday, 20 February 2011 - 4:56 pm

    As a journalist of 35-year standing and one who would die for the cause of free speech and free press, I would, of course, not recommend any boycott of the newspaper, especially when the rice bowls of hundreds of journalists and newspaper workers are at stake. by En Hatta

    Then those hundreds of journalists and workers should stand up and voice out clearly and unilaterally to Utusan”‘enough is enough’ and no more spewing racist tone to divide us.”By blindly working for Utusan is like they themselves are condoning the poison racial articles from Utusan.In the end the hundreds of them will not be affected but millions of the citizens’s bowls of rice would be affected.If Utusan is adamant on provoking racial issue then boycotting the paper is the better solution to save millions of rakya than to safeguard those hundreds of ignorant journalists and workers.

  11. #11 by jus legitimum on Sunday, 20 February 2011 - 9:43 pm

    ‘tak tahan’ you are right.The employees of Utusan should stand up and voice their protest over the sick paper’s racist policy.If they condone the paper’s sinister motive,then boycotting the paper is the only way out.

  12. #12 by Ray on Monday, 21 February 2011 - 11:10 am

    Utusan Malusia dailys had been controled by Irresponsible POLITICAL leaderships therefore its content were manipulated ,full of lies,hatredness,harmful deeds for political gains and and prides etc ……………………

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