Putting the record straight

R. Nadeswaran
The Sun Daily
8 May 2013

The outburst in cyberspace reflects the anger of ordinary Malaysians who view such audacious campaigns as insulting their intelligence.

On a similar note, will the same newspapers publish an advertisement paid for by well-minded citizens which reads: “Can you trust a party which is led by a crook?”

This question can only be answered by none other than owners of publishing houses who have accepted and consented to publish those questionable and code-breaking advertisements.

– R. Nadeswaran, The Sun, April 25

I am disappointed with him because when I was president of the 4As, I sided with him when he took on the issue of corruption in the outdoor advertising industry. At that time, I received death threats after speaking up against illegal billboards in the Klang Valley.

After a year, the situation has remained unchanged. However, he has moved on from his anti-corruption stand to talking about advertising, but his own newspaper has accepted and carried the same advertisement.

– Datuk Vincent Lee, The Star, May 3

IN most newspapers, editors tell reporters to “write for the readers in simple language that they understand”. Readers of this newspaper will attest that we make a conscious effort to get rid of bombastic and pompous language.

These two articles were published a week apart and in the interim on April 30, I wrote as follows: The fact is that although the management of theSun may not see an issue in the same light as the writer, it sees it as expressions of opinion. It may not necessarily reflect the stance of the newspaper. The publication of such articles does not mean that the newspaper endorses my views.

It was in plain and simple language that journalists have no control over newspaper operations and the final decision on content – advertising and editorial is left to the management.

Lee, considered an advertising doyen and currently the executive vice-chairman of The Star may not have understood the simple language used in my explanatory column or could have missed the same. I do not want to guess.

To put it bluntly and implicitly, while Lee decides what goes into The Star, as a columnist, I don’t have such powers.

I have always taken the stand that if you are able to “give”, you must have the gall and gumption to “receive”. No two ways about it and it is said that such an exercise must be done according to Queensberry Rules – not below the belt or getting personal.

Lee chose to attack my integrity as an anti-corruption crusader. To say that he was with me when we went on to clean up the outdoor advertising business in Petaling Jaya, which was plague-ridden and contaminated with back-handers and kick-backs, would be an understatement because he was stating the obvious.

Every right-thinking Malaysian would have supported efforts to get rid of the scourge of corruption which has pervaded our system.

However, to say that “nothing has changed” would be far from the truth. Thanks partly to Lee’s unstinting support, guidelines were drawn up. Over three years, the Petaling Jaya City Council has collected over RM15 million in revenue. This would have otherwise ended in someone’s pocket through innovative solutions such as “donation” to its sports club.

In the bad old days, one had to pay for licences and billboards were built on state land without a temporary occupation licence. All this has come to an end and there is a level playing field.

But the most telling part is that he is indicating that I have veered from corruption to advertising. As regular readers of theSun will know, I have written extensively on advertising and marketing – one of the many areas which I am familiar with. Writing on certain subjects is not exclusive to anyone and it is a fallacy to assume that one who writes on corruption cannot write on advertising.

Wasn’t it Lee the same person in his capacity as president of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As) who invited me to share the same platform with Khairy Jamaluddin at an advertising seminar in 2007?

Was he not the president when the 4As bestowed on me the “Media Personality of the Year” in 2009?

This is no riposte to the unfair comments and innuendoes made but it is a matter of putting issues in perspective.

Since Lee has asserted that the advertisements are factual and statistics are official and that they comply with the Code of Advertising, it would certainly be wrong to dismiss them as hearsay.

In public interest and as a matter of principle, I have in my personal capacity sought a ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority of Malaysia. It may be academic that the election is over, but a decision – whatever the outcome – will go towards a healthy advertising industry.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 9 May 2013 - 11:00 am

    You actually read The Star and all the propaganda sheets ? Really ? What are you, a wierdo ?

  2. #2 by cseng on Thursday, 9 May 2013 - 11:13 am

    Can you straight the record in crooked press ??

    How about winning an election under M’sian EC ??

  3. #3 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 9 May 2013 - 2:58 pm

    CSL must realised long ago why Chinese abandoned them and most specifically himself.

    He claimed himslef “Ang Mo Tick” literally mean talk like Red Hair people, straight talk or talk straight kind of people.

    But since the his sex scandal he choose to resign that was right time to do, but he make a come back for reason ? or are MCA members such a blind idiots still chose him as their president?

    MCA should not blame any but them selve

  4. #4 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 9 May 2013 - 3:02 pm

    As to Star Paper it not even good enough to use as toilet paper.

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