Freelance television producer Jules Ong said he and videographer Lim Chee Too were verbally abused and harassed by some 20 to 30 uniformed officers while they were covering the Orang Asli blockage in Gua Musang, Kelantan, for Singapore-based Channel News Asia.
“Basically they tried to stop us from filming. They came, they saw us there and asked us to stop. They surrounded us and shouted at us. They tried to intimidate us,” Ong told Malaysiakini.
The officers tried to grab their equipment and only stopped short of physically assaulting them.
“Their actions was totally uncalled for,” he said.
Ong said they were handcuffed and forced to surrender their equipment. They were taken to the state Forestry Department office and later handed over to the police.
Throughout the interrogation the authorities had repeatedly asked for their reasons for being at the blockades, carried out by Orang Asli natives protesting against logging.
He said lawyer-activist Siti Kassim came and negotiated for their release on police bail at 10pm on Tuesday night.
Ong said he had tried to seek an interview with the state forestry director and submitted an official request to feature their operations in the one-hour documentary. “But they did not respond… This just shows that they really do not want the people to know what has been going on,” he noted.
The Forestry Department has said the arrests were made as the blockades were illegally erected on state forest reserve land.
• FULL REPORT: » Authorities’ actions ‘uncalled for’, says journalist held at blockade | Malaysiakini
By Margaret Sullivan | Washington Post
It has kept the news media — and therefore the public — in the dark far too much over the past 7 1/2 years. After early promises to be the most transparent administration in history, this has been one of the most secretive. And in certain ways, one of the most elusive. It’s also been one of the most punitive toward whistleblowers and leakers…
Call it Transparency Lite.
His on-the-record interviews with hard-news, government reporters have been relatively rare — and, rather than being wide-ranging, often limited to a single subject, such as the economy. Remarkably, Washington Post news reporters haven’t been able to interview the president since late 2009.
But a thorough study from Martha Joynt Kumar, a retired Towson University professor, describes the administration’s strategy. [Obama] does plenty of interviews…but these interviews are tightly controlled and targeted toward specific topics, and, it seems to me, often granted to soft questioners.
» READ IN FULL: Obama promised transparency. But his administration is one of the most secretive | Washington Post
Barack Obama’s remarks to the White House press corps at his last press conference as president of the United States, Jan 18, 2017
We have travelled the world together. We did a few singles, a few doubles together. I’ve offered advice that I thought was pretty sound, like don’t do stupid stuff. (Laughter)
And even when you complained about my long answers, I just want you to know that the only reason they were long was because you asked six-part questions. (Laughter)
But I have enjoyed working with all of you. That does not, of course, mean that I’ve enjoyed every story that you have filed, but that’s the point of this relationship. You’re not supposed to be sycophants, you’re supposed to be sceptics, you’re supposed to ask me tough questions. You’re not supposed to be complimentary, but you’re supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power and make sure that we are accountable to the people who sent us here, and you have done that.
And you have done it for the most part in ways that I could appreciate for fairness, even if I didn’t always agree with your conclusions. And having you in this building has made this place work better. It keeps us honest, it makes us work harder. You have made us think about how we are doing what we do and whether or not we’re able to deliver on what’s been requested by our constituents. And for example, every time you’ve asked why haven’t you cured Ebola yet or why is there still that hole in the Gulf, it has given me the ability to go back and say, “Will you get this solved before the next press conference?” (Laughter)
I spent a lot of time on my — in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power.
So America needs you and our democracy needs you. We need you to establish a baseline of facts and evidence that we can use as a starting point for the kind of reasoned and informed debates that ultimately lead to progress. And so my hope is is that you will continue with the same tenacity that you showed us, to do the hard work of getting to the bottom of stories and getting them right and to push those of us in power to be the best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of itself.
I have no doubt that you will do so, I’m looking forward to being an active consumer of your work, rather than always the subject of it. I want to thank you all for your extraordinary service to our democracy.
It is true that behind closed doors, I curse more than I do publicly… (Laughter)
… and sometimes I get mad and frustrated like everybody else does, but at my core, I think we’re going to be OK. We just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted and I know that you will help us do that. Thank you very much, Press Corps, good luck.
Full transcript | New York Times
Remembering KP Khoo
By Gobind Rudra
Khoo Kay Peng came to Balai Berita from the Echo in 1970 or so, a lanky soft spoken man of few words. He soon stuck up a friendship with poker and bakuteh kakis such as Michael Foong and John Khoo, and some Penang lang like myself and K Sugumaran.
Then in mid 1971 he began holding a series of mysterious meetings involving his former boss KS Choong, the upshot of which was the desertion of Sugu and Koh Su Chun from the Times, and Mohanan Menon, Charlie Chan and KP’s fellow Echo refugee Khoo Teng Guan from the Malay Mail, with Sanny Tan and Tony Rangel from the Echo. In September, after mighty labours, they gave birth to the “impact compact” (a term stolen from the Sun of Fleet Street, with whom we had lifting rights) which scandalised conservative Penang society as well as the Times and the Echo, to the delight of schoolboys, schoolgirls and fellow upstart journos.KP was chief sub and more or less set the tone of the paper with his headings and layouts, to which Teng Guan and I, and later RD Selva, added our share with our own stamp on things, though largely influenced by the scandalous Sun.
KP was to be the mentor of a large pool of young journos when he eventually wandered back to Balai Berita and rose to be the resident guru of subbing and layout. He spent his latter days with the Reserve.
Kay Peng was a lifelong bachelor but he was never lonely, and that little pup that he and the rest of us helped to deliver carries a little bit of him in every copy.
Farewell “Ah Peng”. A beer and fish curry at Kassim Nasi Kandar at 3am and a stroll down the old Gurney Drive the next time we meet.
Gobind Rudra joined the Star in September 1971 and later handled news production of the Sunday edition. He went back to the New Straits Times two years later but rejoined the Star in 1977 where he was later Group Executive Editor, before leaving full-time journalism.
He turned out zingers in print
By Tony Khoo Teng Guan
The man walked softly but he left a distinctive trail. You don’t quite know when he had come into the room but it was always a relief to look up from your work to see him at his desk because you know the next day’s paper will be a zinger with catchy headlines and colourful blurbs. Khoo Kay Peng was quietly spoken and it was always a wonder to me that inside this low-key, almost-introvert, was a big bubble of colour, exuberance and pizzazz. We met when I joined the Straits Echo in Penang as a reporter and he was a sub-editor there with Sanny Tan.
At that time, this was in 1968-69, Kay Peng was already a big fan of the English soccer league and he had written articles and commentary for an English soccer magazine under the name of Vernon Khoo. Without live TV or the internet for research, Kay Peng crafted his English soccer league pieces off the top of his head in his home in Green Lane for a publication in England for British readers. In August of 1971, Kay Peng, Sanny Tan, Gobind Rudra, Sugumaran, Charles Chan, Menon and I joined The Star at Weld Quay, under K. S. Choong and Penang’s first tabloid landed on the streets in September that year.
The team worked 16-hour shifts for months to get The Star out every day. Kay Peng and I crossed paths again in The New Straits Times for a short time some years later until I again left for The Star in 1977. Although we have not seen each other for at least 25 years now, I still maintain a deep respect for Kay Peng’s journalistic skills. Goodbye kawan.
Khoo Teng Guan had left the Echo and was with the Malay Mail when recruited for the founding editorial crew of The Star in Weld Quay, George Town. After a career with the Star, New Straits Times and The (Singapore) Straits Times, he now lives in Sydney with his wife Muriel, a former Bernama, New Straits Times and Star journalist. His father John Khoo, was a fontly-remembered veteran of the Echo, Eastern Sun, New Straits Times and The Star.