The Power Of SMS

Insidious Insider — Khairy Jamaluddin’s reply to The Malaysian Insider (again)

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 3, 2009


JULY 2 — The Malaysian Insider chose to again attack me personally with little regard to journalistic standards. Two separate articles, one a report and the other an editorial — whose author conveniently remains anonymous — epitomise the failings of the news portal to provide “balanced and serious reporting” as it spells out in its website.

Instead, what they do show is The Malaysian Insider spiralling down into a tabloid-esque outfit bent on promoting half truths and reaching for sensationalist headlines even if it means putting words into people’s mouths or ignoring certain stark realities.

“Reporting” on the press conference I held on the matter of Dewan Pemuda PAS’s invitation to meet for a dialogue/discussion/muzakarah, The Malaysian Insider chose, in one of two articles on the PC, to run the headline “Khairy accuses Hadi Awang of being a Pakatan puppet” with all of 40 words worth of actual commentary — you wonder if these guys are being paid to write thought-provoking reports and op-eds or to come up with hit-headlines. And they chose to do so even when the piece — or any other — could not produce a single quote of me accusing the president of PAS of being a puppet to anyone.

In fact, what I suggested in the press conference (which was conducted mostly in Bahasa Malaysia) was that YB Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Haji Hadi Awang may have felt forced to keep up pretenses and attack Umno, perhaps because of internal politicking within Pakatan Rakyat and the apparent power struggle that is slowly but surely besieging the coalition of convenience. Here’s a brief lesson in Bahasa Malaysia for The Malaysian Insider: “terpaksa” does not mean “dipaksa”.

To be sure, it remains my contention that the leadership of PAS is ill at ease with present arrangements within Pakatan. But I never once suggested that Hadi was forced to kow tow to his political bedmates, or that he acts according to the whims and fancies of DAP/PKR — which would have constituted me calling him a puppet. I merely said that those in PAS who wanted to hold talks with Umno were being obstructed and had to give way, and that Hadi probably had to keep up appearances for the time being by demonstrating a united front in Pakatan. How The Malaysian Insider inferred that I was calling Hadi a “puppet” from that is unfathomable and betrays the either the news portal’s editorial prejudice or journalistic incompetence.

The simple fact which I have always been aware of is that, for the moment, Hadi has opted to go with the rest of Pakatan. Whilst I regret his decision and hold out hope that he will change his mind, I fully respect it as an independent judgment he made in light of political and other calculations. It doesn’t however, prevent me from speculating that Hadi and the pro-muzakarah forces are in a temporary strategic retreat.

Launching off the mistaken — or shall we say now, concocted — notion that I indeed accused Hadi of being a puppet, The Malaysian Insider in an equally sensationally-headlined editorial “Khairy, delusional or in denial?”, proceeded to quote me as saying he was a puppet. This is an important point and a mistake of grave significance. In the first article, the word “puppet” was put in the headline as an inference from what I said. I have explained above that the inference was obviously misplaced. In the second piece — the anonymous editorial — that inference turned into a quote with the word “puppet” in quotation marks. Any journalist knows that the use of quotation marks ascribed it as something that was said by the subject being covered. In this case, The Malaysian Insider stuffed the word “puppet” in my mouth. Now you won’t see that in the current version of the editorial. It was removed after I sent a text message to The Malaysian Insider’s Contributing Editor Leslie Lau. But it was removed without so much as an apology, let alone an acknowledgment of their mistake. Just a sneaky correction before anyone noticed their incompetence or malice. Too bad, I noticed.

The editorial then proceeds to quote a speech Hadi gave in 1981 as evidence that it is “his nature to criticise, castigate and condemn Umno”, the implication of course being that he needs no “manipulation” to fight Umno and Barisan Nasional. I find it very telling, however, that The Malaysian Insider needed to go back almost 30 years in their desperate search for those little straws to clutch — reaffirming their belief that PAS reaching out to Umno for a “muzakarah” is all about Hadi wanting PAS to have a stronger position within Pakatan and nothing about a sincere wish to work with Umno. This begs the question, who is actually delusional or in denial?

Moreover, in its zealous desire to promote this strange reasoning for Hadi and PAS’s recent behaviour, The Malaysian Insider tripped over itself. By arguing that PAS wants to be more prominent in Pakatan, The Malaysian Insider has essentially acknowledged that all is not well in the coalition. Even a northern state which PAS heads, Pakatan cannot seem to sustain an understanding and prevent implosionary forces from ruining whatever unity existed beforehand — case in point, DAP is now kicking a fuss and going on a publicity stunt by pulling out of the state coalition over the demolition of an illegal pig slaughterhouse by the Pakatan (read: PAS) government. Really, am I the only one who thinks that PAS could well be fed up with the whole circus and instead begin considering Umno as a genuine ally?

Starved of any concrete arguments to live up to the anticipation garnered from its absurd headline, The Malaysian Insider, out of nowhere, attributes to me the belief that “non-Malays must always kow tow to the Malays”. Not only is this a sinister and baseless accusation worthy of “fitnah”, to suggest that this is the reason I am opposed to PAS cooperating with “multiracial” PKR and erm..”multiracial?” DAP speaks of how lowly The Malaysian Insider thinks of its readers’ ability to comprehend and think about an issue.

I have stressed again and again that the muzakarah, and any future cooperation, should not be confined to Malay and Muslim issues and must eventually include other members of Barisan Nasional because the engagement must be inclusive to other communities. Any cooperation between Umno and PAS must bring out the best and most progressive side of the two parties. I have made that clear from the start. Yet, The Malaysian Insider ignores this and accuses me of wanting to subjugate non-Malays via the muzakarah. I find this assertion cheap, illogical, malicious and, well, plain stupid.

The truth of the matter is, The Malaysian Insider is unsure of what line to take when it comes to reporting on tough news items like the muzakarah. These articles were not about the real issue at hand; they were aboutThe Malaysian Insider so afraid of losing readers to its more established rivals that it chose to publish insidious material, painting an inaccurate picture of my beliefs and positions to score points in cyberworld. After starting off promisingly, it is The Malaysian Insider who is now kow towing to the unhealthy notion that “establishment-bashing” is the new “neutral”. Actually, that, you can quote. —

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