We laud any attempt at correcting mistakes pertaining to efforts at bringing about national unity. The question is whether such mistakes are honest ones and whether they are deliberately done to portray some bad light on those who the “mistakes” may be aimed at.
There are such things as slanting the news, misquoting, misleading and misdirecting readers’ attention, and totally deliberate and intentional reporting of half truths and complete untruths. Yet there are such things as propaganda, the carefully selected angles of looking at events, repeated time and again in both crude and subtle forms. In the realm of psychological warfare and secret service operations, there are such things as deliberate misinformation, designed to confuse the opposition and make them land in hostile environment. Read the articles below and decide for yourselves which is which in blogosphere and the other forms of mass media in the country.
In the history of the fight against militant communists in Malaya, one reads a lot about psychological warfare being used to win the hearts and minds of those coerced by the communists. It included the resettlement of those exposed to communist coercion in new villages and giving talks to such people. We won. The communists have been dumped in the Betong salient at the Malaysia-Thai border. But the terrorist leader Chin Peng is still alive, unapologetic and unrepentant, does not want to discard the Communist Party of Malaya. One sometimes wonders if there are communists still operating in the country, using one or more of the above methods in blogosphere etc to further their cause. And are those who accuse Bureau Tata Negara of indoctrinating participants at BTN courses communists or communist sympathisers?
Considering the fact that there have been accusations that there are those high up in UMNO not supporting 1Malaysia fully, the action on the part of the Press Secretary of the Deputy Prime Minister as stated below is very much in order. We note however that out of 30 comments published by Malaysian Insider at the time of our writing this draft, not a single one supports the action taken. All are defending or siding with MI, a number are whacking Utusan Malaysia instead.
We know from a few people that they had in the past tried to submit contra comments to MI but were not published and they shied away from doing so ever since. We now try to present the other side of the picture to what MI publishes. In the interest of fair presentation of views on issues raised and for the sake of better understanding, goodwill and harmonious relations among Malaysians.
Malaysian Insider printed the MCA Pesident’s accusation of UMNO using Islam to compete with PAS for Malay support. That accusation may be the full truth but doesn’t it sound propaganda when one considers that so much of what is written in MI appears detrimental to UMNO and/ or the Barisan Nasional. See the last three articles below.
We are not an UMNO or BN website. Or of any political party for that matter. We are interested in the truths for the sake of harmonious and peaceful existence.
Let’s talk about these.
Error in 1 Malaysia article — The Malaysian Insider
August 04, 2010
Dear Dato Ainon Mohd, Press Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister,
Thank you for your faxed statement on this matter dated August 4, 2010. The Malaysian Insider would like to apologise for the reporting error in the said article that appeared on August 3, 2010.
As a matter of policy, we add an asterisk and note below an article when it has been corrected. However, we shall accede to your wishes to remove the said asterisk, and the note that follows the asterisk.
Once again, our apologies and herewith reproduced is your letter and the transcript.
Editor/Chief Executive Officer
The Malaysian Insider
Error in 1 Malaysia article
With regards to the above, I would like to express deep disappointment that you had failed to identify the basic and fundamental difference between a correction and a clarification.
I had made it clear in our earlier teleconversation that the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin did not make any mistake in his statement, rather it was your organisation that had made a mistake in reporting and I was desirous that you correct the reporting error.
It is clear from the transcript that Tan Sri never, at any point, said that 1Malaysia is a failure, he merely said that there are Malaysians who have yet to understand the concept and more time is needed than the one year that has passed since its introduction.
Your inclusion of an unnecessary and uncalled for note in the article stating that the article was re-edited to indicate a clarification from myself reflects mischief and malice on your part as we merely pointed out a factual error in the report.
The inclusion of the note is a clear attempt to shift the blame of your reporting error to our office. Such action can be construed as an effort to embarrass the DPM and create confusion and suspicion among Malaysians.
In fact the gross error in you previously uncorrected article can be construed as an effort to derail a very important Government initiative. Such effort to derail the Government efforts to foster national unity is not only unpatriotic but downright dangerous.
We fail to understand why you feel the need to undermine a crucial Government effort to create a harmonious and united Malaysia. A responsible and credible Media organisation is one that makes all effort to improve unity and harmony and are at all times focused on the improvement of society whereas you are clearly bent on sowing discord and disunity.
Thus, we demand an apology from The Malaysian Insider and to publish this letter together with the transcript and to take out the asterisk at the bottom of the article which stated that me and my colleague had clarified the statement.
I hope that in the future your Media organisation will display better understanding of the basic tenets of good journalism and not deliberately misreport an important statement by a National leader.
Dato Ainon Mohd
Press Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister
Q: Tan Sri, can you comment on the 1 Malaysia slogan needs more explanation and that it failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.
A: Terima kasih kepada Tun Mahathir yang kita hormati, pandangan beliau itu memang saya pun bersetuju bahawa kita tidak berkata dalam tempoh setahun lepas gagasan 1 Malaysia itu dikemukakan oleh Perdana Menteri semua orang faham, tetapi pastinya sudah ramai mula faham dan saya percaya ada juga masih yang belum dapat memahami secara mendalam apakah yang dimaksudkan dengan gagasan 1 Malaysia. Ada kecenderungan tafsiran itu dibuat mengikut pandangan kelompok-kelompok tertentu.
Sedangkan, yang telah dijelaskan oleh YAB Perdana Menteri, gagasan 1 Malaysia ini adalah gagasan yang diterapkan kepada Perlembagaan Negara. Yang itu yang paling kukuh sekali, dan apapun tafsirannya, ia tidak harus lari daripada apa yang terkandung dan semangat yang ada dalam Perlembagaan Negara. Baik dalam soal hak kaum, bukan Bumiputera, soal bahasa, soal budaya, soal kedudukan Raja, agama, itu semua ada.
Jadi apapun, ia tidak harus lari. Jadi pastinya, kerana gagasan 1 Malaysia ini adalah satu perkara yang dinamik. Tapi pasti ada pihak yang akan cuba menafsirkan mengikut kehendak masing-masing. Jadi langkah yang memang wajar dibuat dan masih terus dilakukan oleh pihak kerajaan ialah untuk memberikan penjelasan, mengadakan berbagai-bagai program untuk rakyat lebih faham tentang apa yang dimaksudkan dengan gagasan 1 Malaysia dan kita jangka mungkin dalam satu tempoh akan datang semua orang dapat memahami erti yang sebenar maksud yang sebenarnya. Tidak ada salah tafsiran tentang apa yang dimaksudkan gagasan 1 Malaysia.
Umno warns of backlash over Soi Lek’s remarks
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani August 06, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Umno leaders fired back today at MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek for accusing them of using religion to compete with PAS for Malay support, warning him that he risked triggering an adverse reaction from the Malay community.
“Dr Chua needs to stop doing this. He is shifting racial politics into religious politics.
“This is very dangerous. People might start blaming Islam because of what he said… they might blame Islam and say that corruption in the country is rampant because of the religion,” said Umno’s Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who is also the former Selangor mentri besar.
Dr Chua, the MCA president, appeared to criticise Umno as well as PAS today for using religion to compete for Malay support.
He also blamed this on how the country had been trapped as a “middle income” nation for more than 10 years, claiming that the competition between the two Malay-centric parties had led to some “non-progressive policies”.
Dr Khir told The Malaysian Insider that Dr Chua’s remarks could cause unrest within the country, and disturb the “harmonic balance” created by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
”We do not want to start blaming each other, pointing fingers… this leads into religious arguments. This is dangerous,” said Dr Khir.
The Selangor opposition leader said that the MCA president should instead focus on rebuilding an already fragmented MCA.
“Dr Chua should look into the Chinese problems. Why is there no support from the Chinese towards BN? In Selangor, there are virtually no new registered Chinese voters.
“I think Dr Chua is too influenced by western campaigns to discredit Islam as a religion. You will only end up making Malay leaders angry and more enemies,” said Dr Khir.
The Umno man insisted that there was nothing wrong with Umno reaching out to Malay voters with Islam, because Islam was part and parcel of the identity of the Malay party.
He dismissed Dr Chua’s remarks that Umno had become conservative in recent years.
“Umno is a progressive, open party. Under BN, we allow other members to join, to contest. We give rights to other races, and make sure everyone is happy.
“Islam is close to Umno, part of our life. You cannot ask for the religion to be separated from the party. It is a part of what Umno is,” said Dr Khir.
Umno Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan argued that Umno was a party that followed the wishes of its grassroots, and it will always be the voice of the Malays.
“Umno has always been the voice of the Malays. It is not about what Umno wants really… we are looking at the Malay heartbeat, sometimes they want Umno to be concerned with more religious issues,” said the Umno man.
Abdul Rahman told The Malaysian Insider that Umno was neither liberal or conservative, and that it only responding to the needs of grassroot supporters.
“Umno is only reacting to the wishes of the grassroots. If the grassroots want Umno to be more liberal, we will be as we have been. But if there is a message that they want us to focus on religious issues, then we will do that too,” he said.
Abdul Rahman warned of the dangers of not protecting Malay interests, stressing that the majority race needed to be appeased to avoid any disruption to the existing stability of the country.
“It is important that the Bumiputera majority do not feel restless… they need to be contented, not threatened.
“1 Malaysia is already in place to ensure that everyone has a place in the country,” he said.
Meanwhile Perkasa’s Dr Zubir Harun warned Dr Chua not to politicise the issue of religion as it might lead to Malay voters rejecting BN in the next general elections.
“Chua Soi Lek should instead concentrate on rebuilding and rebranding MCA so that the party could get more Chinese voters.
“MCA should not politicise Islam because the party will alienate Malay voters and affect Barisan Nasional’s chances in the general election. MCA should also stop using the Allah issue to gain the support of non-Malay voters,” Dr Zubir told The Malaysian Insider.
Dr Chua had claimed that the competition between PAS and Umno had led to some “non-progressive policies” formed, resulting in Malaysia being trapped as a middle-income nation for the past 10 years.
His strong words suggest that MCA, the second largest party in the ruling coalition, is no longer content to be Umno’s junior partner.
The party recently came under criticism from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Umno deputy president, for apparently sharing DAP’s view that the “Allah” ban should be lifted.
MCA was forced to back down from its stand and its leaders were indirectly warned to back off after Muhyiddin announced the Cabinet’s directive to impose a gag order on all parties.
The Malaysian Insider understands that there is also a growing anger among MCA leaders over the recent prosecution of former party president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.
The rejection of Barisan’s Chinese leaders — The Malaysian Insider
August 06, 2010
Chua Soi Lek. Koh Tsu Koon. Liow Tiong Lai. Kong Cho Ha. George Chan. All these experienced Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians have one thing in common: they are being rebuffed by Chinese Malaysians right across the country, from housing estates in Sibu to villages in Johor.
Mocked as powerless stooges of Umno or self-serving individuals, politicians from Chinese-based parties in the ruling coalition are struggling to find issues or a platform or a niche that can give them some traction with the community they are identified with.
Recent surveys and focus group sessions paint a dismal future for MCA, Gerakan, SUPP.
It shows that disenchantment with leaders from these parties are so deep that the average Chinese believes that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) politicians such as Lim Guan Eng, or Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be able to resolve issues much more effectively than any politician from BN’s Chinese-based parties.
The consensus is that these politicians do not have the influence either at state or federal level to handle issues deemed important by the Chinese, namely widening economic opportunities, protecting language, cultural and religious space of non-Malays.
Worse yet, the growth of the right-wing voice in Umno and among groups of Malays and the corresponding unwillingness and inability of BN parties to confront the right wing noises has rendered the Chinese politicians almost irrelevant.
Soi Lek’s outburst or comments today should be seen as an attempt by a politician who knows that he will be writing his party’s epitaph if it continues to remain subservient.
But his noise can come too late. A pattern has already been established in the minds of the Chinese Malaysian voter.
They expect Umno leaders to hammer Soi Lek and for deafening silence to reign after that.
MCA, stand firm or close shop — Thomas Lee Seng Hock
August 04, 2010
The arrogance of Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in giving a stern warning on August 3 to the MCA over the “Allah” issue simply cannot be stomached and tolerated.
If the MCA has any dignity and integrity, it should not allow itself to be so severely rebuked and dictated to publicly by an “equal” partner in the Barisan Nasional coalition.
The MCA is right in standing up for the right of the non-Muslim community to be allowed to freely practise and express their religious faiths using any word they deem fit in Bahasa Malaysia, which is their national language.
The MCA is absolutely right to ask the federal government, of which it is purportedly an essential component, to rescind the ban on non-Muslims using of the word “Allah”, after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein expressed regret over the decision to ban its use by his predecessor.
The deputy prime minister had insisted that the MCA must accept the decision of the federal government without questioning, saying that the party should not trigger another debate on the word “Allah.”
The MCA should not allow such haughtiness to go unchallenged, and should ensure its fundamental right is recognised, accepted, and respected as an equal component of the ruling coalition to any assent and/or acquiescence of any decision affecting the nation.
If the MCA is not allowed to voice its views and have a say on such fundamental matters as the right of the non-Muslims to freely use any word in the national language for the purpose of expressing, worshipping, teaching and publishing of their religious faith, then the party should dissolve itself as it is obviously politically impotent, and has no essential practical use to the Chinese community it claims to represent.
Muhyiddin has also questioned the MCA’s intention in sharing the same platform with the DAP.
“I am not sure why the DAP and the MCA have the same stand in this matter,” he said.
In condemning the MCA stand on the “Allah” issue, which happens to align with that of the DAP, Muhyiddin is showing himself to be superficial and perhaps even shallow in understanding the universal fundamental human, civil and constitutional rights of the people.
The MCA may not be ideologically and politically compatible with the DAP, but the universal principles and values of the fundamental human rights are applicable to political parties of all tints and shades, including even Umno.
So, for the MCA to make a stand on the “Allah” issue, which is basically a human right issue, is both legitimate and justified, even if it is similar to the stand of the DAP.
Take the case of Umno having a similar stand as PAS on the issue of the need for Malay unity.
If Muhyiddin’s argument on the MCA having the same political agenda on the “Allah” issue as the DAP is seen as perfidy against the Barisan Nasional, then Umno’s willingness to hold unity talk with PAS is likewise a betrayal of trust against the other component parties of the Barisan Nasional.
The MCA must not compromise on this “Allah” issue, which involves the fundamental human, civil, and constitutional rights of the people. If it now shrinks from its responsibility to help preserve, protect, and promote the God-given rights of the people, then it can be sure that its days are numbered and the next general election will be its funeral ceremony.
NOTE: As I had expected, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said in a statement soon after the above comment was published that the MCA “does not share the same stand with the DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims.” In view of the party backing out on its stand on the issue, I think it should start making arrangement to hold nationwide funeral ceremonies after the next general election. — mysinchew.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or the publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.