Skip to content

Press freedom died with 1961 Utusan strike – Said Zahari

Sat 2011-Jun-11 @ +08 18:17:30 pm

‘Only a change in system can lead to press freedom’

Said Zahari. Roketkini photo

The system must be changed, not just the government, for press freedom to be revived, says Said Zahari, the distinguished Utusan Malaysia editor who led a three-month-long strike in 1961 to protest against the takeover of the paper by Umno.

Pak Said said the Utusan Malaysia strike fifty years ago spelled the death knell of press freedom in Malaysia.

Present-day circumstances would not allow press freedom to be revived or any campaign to succeed, said Pak Said, now 83, who was exiled to Singapore, then detained by the Singapore government under the Internal Security Act for 17 years.

The laws in place would not allow journalists to educate the public on the need of press freedom or to raise consciousness, he said in an interview published at Roketkini.com, the online Malay newspaper of the DAP. Pak Said also commented on Utusan Malaysia’s scaremongering about supposed moves to turn Malaysia into a Christian country.

Pak Said on press freedom and Utusan:

Kebebasan akhbar di Malaya dan Malaysia telah mati sejak mogok 1961. Keadaan tidak membenarkan suburnya semangat perjuangan wartawan. Kongkongan ini, menyebabkan wartawan hilang arah bila berkait dengan kebebasan akhbar, apa lagi orang ramai untuk memahaminya.

Sebagai wartawan yang kritis beliau melihat dan membaca kandungan-kandungan akhbar-akhbar, yang kesimpulannya menjelaskan beliau bahawa semua kandungannya mirip kepada dasar kerajaan dan parti yang berkuasa.

Jadi, menurut Pak Said, untuk memperkatakan tentang kebebasan akhbar ini agak susah, apatah lagi hendak memperjuangkannya.

“Awak pula macam mana? Macam mana nak memperjuangkan kebebasan akhbar? Dengan pelbagai akta-akta yang mengongkong, macam mana hendak sedarkan masyarakat?”

Lutut saya jadi longgar, pen yang dipegang hampir jatuh bila diasak soalan bertubi-tubi begitu oleh Pak Said – wartawan lantang yang kritis terhadap isu-isu semasa yang berkaitan rakyat itu.

“Err… Kita kena ubah kerajaan yang mengongkong kita?” jawab saya, gugup.

“Ya, ya. Maknanya keseluruhan sistem mesti diubah!” tegasnya jelas, kali ini dengan sedikit tercungap, langsung membawa kepada tamatnya perbualan kami pada petang itu.

Sebelum meninggalkan ‘kubu’ Pak Said, sebelum menarik pintu gelongsor, secara spontan saya bertanyakan jawapan yang saya sendiri sudah tahu, “Pak Said pernah terlibat dengan politik?”

“Saya wartawan, untuk rakyat. Ya, memang benar saya sertai Parti Rakyat Singapura dan dilantik sebagai ketua Parti Rakyat Singapura pada 1963 dulu.

“Tapi hanya untuk beberapa jam sahaja. Pukul 12 malam dilantik, pukul 4:30 pagi saya di tangkap. Saya cuma sempat jadi orang politik beberapa jam saja!” katanya ketawa.
» IN FULL: Roketkini.com interview…

Advertisements
3 Comments
  1. Sickening permalink
    Sat 2011-Jun-11 @ +08 21:45:01 pm 21:45

    We chinese malaysians can now sympathise with Utusan editors knowing now if they dont write racistly as per their ultimate boss (amno) instruction the editors will be sacked with no mercy shown just like the former NUJ president. We feel sorry for these editors who bcos nak cari makan kena buatlah apa boss suruh walaupun tak betul.For the sake of bringing food to your families we cannot mind anymore what you editors are forced to write-do keep your job for we dont want to see your kids suffer if you go against your boss.We can understand.

  2. TURUNAWARASU NADASAN permalink
    Sun 2011-Jun-12 @ +08 01:21:33 am 01:21

    IHAVE READ ABOUT U IN THE SEVENTIES IT MAKES ME FEEL WANTED IN THIS BEAUTIFULL COUNTRY AT LEAST ALL IS NOT LOST

  3. Sun 2011-Jun-12 @ +08 17:54:38 pm 17:54

    It was still born in the first place !

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: