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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Makkal Ossai: Reform? What Reform?

It seems that it is business as usual for the Barisan federal government and the insincerity underlying the promises of reform becoming more evident.

The Home Affairs Ministry has refused to extend the permit of Makkal Ossai (‘Daily threatened racial harmony: Syed Hamid’, Malaysiakini, 17.04.2008). In the usual double speak that we have become so familiar with, we are told by the Minister, Syed Hamid Albar, that there is no question of the permit having been cancelled, it is merely not being extended.

Tell that to the employees of the newspaper who have suddenly found themselves facing unemployment. Explain to them how they are supposed to meet their financial commitments be they mortgages, car repayments or just food on the table. Glib sophistry is not going to be consoling them.

But, oh wait, that is the point, isn’t it? Force the editors through concern for their colleagues into becoming more Barisan friendly or at the least, Pakatan unfriendly. The nuances of the promise of an ‘appeal’ by the Minister resonate loud and clear.

In legal speak, we refer to such pressure as duress. But then, what else can one expect from a Ministry that is equally responsible for the implementation of the Internal Security Act.

The Minister says that the newspaper threatened racial harmony. He does not say how nor does he specify when. He appears to have adopted a very broad-brushed approach, one that could have equally resulted in the conclusion that the New Straits Times or the Berita Harian or the Utusan Malaysia or any other major daily had similarly threatened racial harmony at some point or other. The Minister after all does not specify that the threats arose from editorial pieces or from news reports or, if so, from style as opposed to content. He should recollect that, if one wants to stretch a point, we have been exposed by major dailies to content that could arguably be said to be racist or supremacist or divisive from time to time. The recent speech of Tengku Faris of Kelantan that raised many an eyebrow was dutifully reported by the major dailies as were the incredible speeches at the last two UMNO general assemblies.

Makkal Sakti does not deserve to be singled out. We have heard of no specific incident recently that created controversy, that shook the nation to its very core. The refusal of the renewal smacks of arbitrariness and has made victimis those who work for the newspaper.

Views are views. I think that is why it is called press freedom. And as for racial harmony, Malaysians are more mature than the government gives them credit for. That is why they voted the way they did. But perhaps, the seemingly continuing inability of the government to see that is the real problem.

The government says that it is pushing for reforms, that it made the mistake of overlooking the significance of alternative media. I find this hard to believe in the face of this kind of indifferent, callous, self-serving sort of conduct. If the government was sincere, Makkal Ossai would continue operating, its staff would not be facing the prospect of joblessness and we would not be having this discussion.

For any of you doubting the wisdom of having voted against the Barisan this last general election, keep in mind that with behaviour like this, there really is no other choice.



Anonymous said...

i cant believe this! All the displaced families as a result will only bring further discontent in the hearts of the people. And come on, the ALTERNATIVE media did not destroy BN in the recent GE. it was the years of blatant discrimination, fraud, falling short of promises, lies and witch hunts.

Old Fart said...

Malik, I am waiting for the day when Anwar will turn his trick and send all these guys into opposition. That is when I want to go to parliament to look them in their faces and see what their idiotic looking faces really look like.

And since these guys love their ISA and Printing Press and Publications Act so much, I suppose it should still be in operation soon after Pakatan takes control of the government. I am certain there is already so many acts they have committed and things that they have said that is tantamount to incitement that would warrant a stay at ISA. As for their precious publications, I am sure there would be so much evidence that would qualify for their licenses to be forfeited. It can always be awarded to more worthy news reporters and such. I am sure Malaysiakini would be a worthy organisation to be given either The Star's or NST's license, don't you think? I am sure Premesh Chandran will know how to negotiate buying NST's or The Star's assets on a fire sale!

Donplaypuks® said...

These arbitary and dictatorials fiats by Albar and the UMNO govt (UMNO since MCA & MIC have virtually been decimated in the GE 2008) will contribute to the irreversible decline and collapse of BN & UMNo soon.

Albar, in trying to flex his muscles and portray himself as the new Iron Man, will fail in muzzling the free press. Sadly, it will contribute more to the polarisation among the races.

Albar, more than most, should be aware of the dangers of playing the racial card - his father was implicated by LKY and foreign observers of agitating racial sentiments in the riots of 1964 in Singapore in which 23 people died and about 400 more injured!

Looks like some people will never learn!

Anonymous said...

What a nice excuse "threatened racial harmony", wahai Syed H.
What abt the Utusan ? published all kind of shits that can really
threatened racial harmony, why don't you ban it !

shankar~selina said...

I thought Utusan Malaysia was the racist and a trouble making newspaper. Why no ban? Hey BN you days are numbered and Syed Hamid Albar you will be probed for corrupt practices. Who paid you? Remember March 8th. Makkal Shakthi or people's power

Anonymous said...

Time for the Tamil journalists (if they have not done so)to set up blogs reporting the real news in Tamil and English. Tell all the untold stories so that people can know the truth. Then the Govt control of the press will have no meaning for BN.

This act of the UMNO shows utter contempt for the people of Malaysia. UMNO better not forget that at the next election, they are likely to vote BN out completely.Abdullah better do somethign about this now and sack this Minister before it is too late.

amoker said...

I think Utusan and Berita should be in the same category lately. Riling people up with the smelly stories about pigs and the tender system.

Wonder if he can show the 'many complains' that Makkal got from the public. I think it is the same as " the majority" and "Malay NGOs" type of sandiwara. We should have a vote to see which is the most racist newspaper in the perception of public.

Anonymous said...

That's why they are called goons! People with coconut shells on top of their necks how to know why they lost in the recent GE. However these goons' actions are good for PR. It is easier for the rakyat to decide come the next GE.

Richiee said...

"The recent speech of Tengku Faris of Kelantan that raised many an eyebrow was dutifully reported by the major dailies as were the incredible speeches at the last two UMNO general assemblies."

By the above statement made by Malik and the fact that the newspapers like NST, Star, Utusan etc published the racist speech of Tengku Faris of Kelantan, Minister might as well revoke the publication of licenses of these newspaper as they are sowing the seed of racial disharmony which could lead to racial riots and discontent.

Anonymous said...

I am sick and tired listening to the UMNO Morons.I believe they have not learnt their lesson. I can wait for Anwar to kick their butt out.But he is taking a long time.This is the right time for him to sieze the moment. Strike it when the iron is hot. Makhal sakthi must walk on the streets again to dismantle UMNO.We must get rid of the UMNO goons forever.Otherwise slowly , UMNO will regain its strength.

Anonymous said...

PR has 5 states in hand. Why cant these state gov. be allowed to have their own media control i.e news/bulletins that are only to be distributed in these states? So if the federal gov. wants media control, hang them! We've got alternative means as well! Technically any1 can print out flyers and pamplets anyway...remember "80 Reasons Why Anwar cannot be PM"?!!

Anonymous said...

It is time that we the rakyat wipe UMNO out for good. The longer they are in power, they will destroy this beloved nation of ours. The people has spoken in the PRU and ANWAR must act quickly to seize the moment and not allow UMNO to gain back their momentum. Otherwise all our hard work will be wiped out.

Anonymous said...

The PR should not let the spirit of 14th April to dies down. DSAI should seize the moment to rule now when the SPIRIT of the RAKYAT is still strong with him. Otherwise, it will be just another would-be hope.

Take over now and give the licenses to the alternative media to report the truth of what is happening. Then, discontinue the current main media licenses. Don't cancel them, just discontinue them. Then, we will see how they eat their words.

Yeah, like old fart said, throw in the ISA and Printing Press and Publications Act at them too.

Makkal Ossai, do tell us what has transpired. Let everyone knows that these BN goons has never learn. Didn't they know that the RAKYAT has spoken that they want a change (the 5 alternative states)and to give the BN a last chance to prove them wrong. Well, we are seeing them "OLD HABITS DIE HARD". Looks like ADIOS to me, BN.

DIASPORA said...

Ministers, being politicians who have fine tuned the art of telling lies for their survival, talk in the language of the Rishis, Sages and Prophets so that men of ordinary intelligence cannot identify what they are really telling most of the time.

More often than not, they hide behind the ISA or the Printing Press Act or some other Act having similar simian values.

When the end comes for them, they go out screaming and bleating like sheep and goats and make a mockery and a disgrace of themselves and this country. Malaysia has been sufficiently ridiculed by overseas Press Reports on the calibre of our Ministers - most of who seem to have now taken interest in the age old game of molesting women.

Do these Ministers whom BN appoints know to what utter degration that Malaysia is brought to by their acts and their stupid valueless utterances. The sooner that Anwar gets rid of this group of muddlers the earlier sanity will return to this Nation and heal the wounds that we all carry because such miserable specimens were elected to rule the roost for the last 50 over years - and some are still hanging around - getting voted in through money politics and their cronies who need these specimens for their own ends - to loot and pillage the Treasury.

Many would support Anwar if he could send Mahathir and some of these die hard Miniters and their cronies in the Political circle, the Police and the Civil service to KAMUNTING for a change of atmosphere since they all LOVE to have the ISA and so forth around by telling us the BULLSHIT that these laws are for our protection - protection from whom ? We need protection only from the above stated groups. So long as they are all put in Kamunting along with a few SUHAKAM cronies - this land will be safe for some time - until politica corrupts the new groups in power.