Posts Tagged ‘Media


Attempts to clampdown on the media futile in digital age

It’s the digital age, award-winning US journalist tells Najib over media blockage

An award-winning American investigative journalist today said Putrajaya cannot hide from the world the fact that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak received a “questionable” donation in his personal bank accounts.

David Kaplan, who heads the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), said attempts to clampdown on the media were useless as people would turn to the Internet and continue questioning Najib over the RM2.6 billion issue.

“You can’t close off a country anymore, these people are living in another era if they think they can hide US$700 million going through their bank account,” said Kaplan.

“This is a digital age, people in the power are going to have to be accountable, that’s why you have to have watchdog media,” he told reporters after speaking at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya today.

Kaplan said Putrajaya was now trying to “criminalise” journalism with its suspension of The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily over the papers’ coverage of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) issue.

But he said the public would continue pushing for answers because they were not satisfied with the government’s “trust us” response.

“There are legitimate questions, of accountability, of responsibility. There was a famous question asked at the heart of the Watergate scandal, at a White House press conferences: ‘What did the president know, and when did he know it’.

“These questions aren’t going away,” said Kaplan, a four-time winner of the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award.

It’s the digital age, award-winning US journalist tells Najib over media blockage
4 September 2015 – TMI


‘The best democracy’ debunked

Finally, it has dawned on Najib Abdul Razak that Malaysiakini readers are not worth winning over and he is now going for the jugular by serving the news portal a writ of summons over defamation.

This is the man who, upon assuming the highest political office in the country five years ago, conceded that “the days the government knows best are over”, and went on to introduce a host of ‘reformist’ measures. He also declared unashamedly that he would make Malaysia ‘the best democracy in the world’.

But what evolved in the years after has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that Najib had promised Malaysians gems but delivered worse than pebbles.

Indeed, he abolished the infamous Internal Security Act, but has kept intact, rather cunningly, the Sedition Act which was supposed to be also repealed.

Had Najib been sincere in any reform agenda, his administration would have been refrained from using the Sedition Act pending its replacement. Instead, Mat Shuhaimi Shafiei, the Sri Muda assemblyperson, is still fighting his case at the Federal Court, while Teresa Kok became the latest victim over her, okay, not-so-tasteful Chinese New Year video clip.

Much as I detest the arbitrary law, it remains morally outrageous to see the Umno-friendly individuals – from Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin, Ridhuan Tee to the Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) clowns – above it. The shameless double standard only debunks further the myth of national unity as Najib has mendaciously pledged.

Still, the mainstream newspapers praised him to the skies back in April 2009 as if Malaysia’s elevation to a full democracy was nigh. Just look at Tay Tian Yan of Sin Chew Daily who wrote unabashedly of Najib as being “confident and capable… ready to be a prime minister for all Malaysians”. Yes, go laugh your head off before reading on.

But Najib’s desperate move only exposes his vulnerability within the party. When he sought to exert his authority as party president and prime minister by removing Ahmad Said from office, the former Terengganu chief minister pulled off a last-minute coup over, amusingly, his daughter’s wedding and the s**t hit the fan.

Prior to that, Najib had come under enormous pressure from the ultras within the party and a vengeful Mahathir Mohamad from without. His inability to rein in Ahmad Said is just another indicator of his untenable position, and so livid was he that he decided to punish Malaysiakini for his own failings.

Jun 6, 2014 – Malaysiakini
‘The best democracy’ debunked


Najib’s reconciliation plan a little too late

Pakatan pours scorn on Najib’s reconciliation plan, says it’s a little too late

Pakatan Rakyat leaders (PR) have poured scorn on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Reconciliation Plan (NRP), saying that it is a case of “too little too late”.They pointed out that after months of raging racial and religious tension, where Putrajaya had remained mostly silent, Najib’s overtures now seemed more like mere talk without any decisive action.

What Najib should have done immediately, they said, was to take firm action against extremist groups who have started to threaten society’s fabric, by warning them that they will face the full brunt of the law.

In describing the NRP as a recipe for Najib to abdicate his responsibility as the nation’s chief executive but still wanting to cling on to the perks of office, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang said the opposition had never been consulted on the NRP.

Instead, Pakatan’s olive branch to Barisan Nasional on a national consensus to resolve outstanding issues is still waiting for an official response from Najib and the BN leadership.

“It is certainly presumptuous on the part of a government elected on a minority vote of 47% of the electorate to work quietly and in secrecy to conceive a NRP without consultation and input from Pakatan, which has secured a majority of 51% of the national vote,” he said.

He questioned whether the NRP is different from the National Unity Blueprint prepared by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), and if it is, why is there a need for the Blueprint which would be similar to the NRP.

Lim (pic, left) said he was initially excited when he found out that Najib had blogged about an update on national reconciliation, hoping that it would signal an end to the nine-month rudderless government after the 13th general election last year. However, Lim said he was disappointed, as it does not inspire hope that there would be a new purposeful leadership.

The Gelang Patah MP was especially scornful over Najib’s call to all Malaysians to ignore the extremists, saying what the premier should have done is to promise a pro-active and pre-emptive
action by not condoning the actions of any groups who promote hate and violence.

“I could not think of a more inane, useless or irresponsible plan to save the country from the sinister and nefarious forces out to pit race against race, and religion against religion, and to create racial chaos and religious conflagration, especially when it is the Umno and
BN-controlled printed, electronic and social media which gave precious oxygen to such instigators by sensationalising their extremist demands – in particular Utusan Malaysia and the Umno/BN controlled electronic media of radio and television.

Pakatan pours scorn on Najib’s reconciliation plan, says it’s a little too late
February 26, 2014 – TMI


Gov’t’s history of silencing media on ‘technicalities’

Media activists have poured cold water on the Home Ministry’s explanation that news weekly The Heat’s suspension was due to its failure to comply with technical provisions under its publishing permit.

At a forum in Kuala Lumpur last night to show solidarity with The Heat, Malaysiakini chief editor Fathi Aris Omar bluntly called the explanation “bulls**t”.

Fathi pointed out that the government has had a history of indefinitely suspending publications on technical grounds when upset with their contents.

“An example was a political news weekly Ekslusif, published by KarangKraf which was closed down in April after the 1999 General Election with the reason that its licence had lapsed and now renewed,” he said.

Adding on, political cartoonist Nor Afendi Ramli (above) said other publications such as Tamadun, Detik, Al-Wasilah were similarly “suspended indefinitely” on technicalities and never allowed to resume.

“The Home Ministry can use any technical reason for suspension.

“In the case of Al-Wasilah, the reason given was because the name of the publication had ‘Al’ in it but the fact was because of its contents,” said Afendi, who is better known by his pen name, Ronasina.

He added that “suspension” was merely a nicer sounding word but often times in the past it has been as good as “closure”.

“Another example is in 1987, when the Malay language political tabloid was popular with a circulation of 60,000 to 70,000… it was critical of both the government and opposition.

“It similar received the same fate (as The Heat) with a ‘suspension’ but for Watan, it was in fact a ‘closure’,” he said.

The Heat is the most recent victim of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 after the Home Minister suspended it indefinitely.

The action came shortly after the news weekly published a front-page story entitled “All eyes on big spending PM Najib” which highlighted the premier’s and his wife’s Rosmah Mansor’s costly overseas trips and expensive consultants.

Gov’t’s history of silencing media on ‘technicalities’
Nigel Aw
Dec 28, 2013 – Malaysiakini


Ibrahim Ali, blogger jailed in contempt case

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali (pic) was sentenced to one day in jail and fined RM20,000 after being held in contempt by the Kuala Lumpur High Court today.

This was over an article by blogger Zainuddin Salleh published in the Perkasa website, which had allegedly tarnished the image of High Court judge Datuk V.T. Singham.

Singham had presided over a defamation suit by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.

High Court judge Datuk John Louis O’Hara today also sentenced Zainuddin to four weeks’ jail, leaving both Ibrahim and Zainuddin in shock when the verdict and sentencing were read out.

In an immediate response, Anwar’s lawyer, R. Sivarasa, said this was a fair verdict given the seriousness of the act, where the duo were responsible for the publication of the article which he described as a “personal and scurrilous attack on judge Singham”.

“This article could not have been let off without a response. This is the most extreme scurrilous written attack on the judiciary. I think Zainuddin can consider himself lucky he only got four weeks’ jail.

“In comparison, the imam who threw his shoes at the judge got 12 months’ jail,” Sivarasa said.

He was referring to the case of Hoslan Hussin, the imam who flung his shoes at the Federal Court bench in February last year after it struck out his bid to challenge an eviction order from a city mosque here in 1999 on a technicality.

According to Sivarasa, in his judgment today, O’Hara ruled that Zainuddin had written and published an article that scandalised the judiciary, and judge Singham, in particular.

Ibrahim Ali, blogger jailed in contempt case
November 19, 2013 – TMI


It is a right, not a privilege

BLOG: It is a right, not a privilege, so what now?

Why was Malaysiakini’s application to publish a daily newspaper in English of 40,000 copies to be sold only in the Klang Valley rejected?

All Malaysiakini asked for was to publish a daily newspaper in English of 40,000 copies to be sold only in the Klang Valley. But this was not acceptable to the Home Ministry, which rejected its application in August 2010. Why? What was the Government afraid of?

Sure, as an online news website, Malaysiakini had distinguished itself as a provider of news that the mainstream media often hid from the public for fear of offending the Government, and it had won tremendous support from truth-starved Malaysians who wanted to get “the other side of the story”, the side that exposed the Government’s shenanigans and deceptions. But the number of copies it was asking for its print version was relatively low, and with its distribution restricted to the Klang Valley, where there is a concentration of supporters of the Opposition, the newspaper would be mostly preaching to the converted anyway.

Besides, it was entering a market in which English-language newspapers owned by ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties, like The Star and New Straits Times, were already long entrenched and wielding considerable influence on their readers.

In any case, the Home Ministry did not give any grounds for rejecting Malaysiakini’s application. But when Malaysiakini brought the case to the High Court for a judicial review, the Minister had to state his reasons in an affidavit.

The case was heard in October 2012. The Government’s lawyer submitted that the granting of a publication permit was a privilege, not a right. But the judge disagreed.

Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim said freedom of expression was a right guaranteed in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. And this right included the right to publish a newspaper. He ruled that the ministry’s decision was “improper and irrational”.

He also considered the minister’s reasons for rejecting Malaysiakini’s application as stated in his affidavit. One of them stupidly stated that it was because there were already a lot of newspapers in the market and Malaysiakini’s entry would affect their profit margin.

The judge rightly pointed out that there was nothing in the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) that gave the minister power to regulate the market.

But of course! How could it be the job of the Home Minister to ensure that the profit margin of newspaper companies would not be affected?

Was the minister particularly concerned in this case because the newspapers were owned by BN parties, afraid that Malaysiakini might provide competition and affect their sales and therefore their profits? However you look at it, there was no cause for him to be involved in that aspect.

BLOG: It is a right, not a privilege, so what now?
By Kee Thuan Chye
01 Nov 2013 –


Najib cannot be trusted

The Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak sought a new mandate from the rakyat in the 13th General Election on the promise that his victory will ensure that his cornerstone “transformation” programmes will finally be carried out in earnest.

However, despite his victory, Dato’ Seri Najib had yesterday broken his promise of a transformative government. In particular one which will ensure that his government will be transparent, accountable and practices good governance as demanded by the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) launched with much fanfare in 2009.

He had during the launcing of Utusan Malaysia’s new headquarters yesterday, declared in no uncertain terms that he hopes “all government agencies, Government-linked companies and private companies especially those owned by Bumiputeras, will show their support by giving more advertisements to Utusan…. Only this can help keep Utusan on track”.

The blatant call by the Prime Minister himself for government agencies and companies to increase advertising in Utusan Malaysia is a poorly-disguised bail-out attempt using tax-payers’ monies. It has become clear that Utusan Malaysia is no longer commercially viable, and Dato’ Seri Najib is making a desperate call to rescue its racist and extremist mouthpiece.

The Prime Minister’s hypocritical action is even more shocking given that the owner of Utusan Malaysia is Umno, where Najib himself is its President. Hence, Dato’ Seri Najib is in effect channeling the rakyat’s money to save his own Party, a direct conflict of interest.

Leopard can never change its spots

This proves that a leopard will never change its spots, and the Prime Minister is only a pretend-reformer, an image cultivated by making “transformative” promises via grand public relation campaigns. These promises are broken at will whenever the interests of UMNO-Barisan Nasional as well as their cronies are at stake.

Najib cannot be trusted – Tony Pua
Written by Tony Pua
14 September 2013 – Malaysia Chronicle

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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?