• Big Dog says Chamil should quit MPI
• What Chamil said in 2008 about ‘Josephine’
• Big Dog and the ‘Christian conspiracy’
• Photo: Big Dog, Hassan Ali and Utusan’s Zaini
• Rocky’s defence of Utusan in the name of press freedom
Umno attack dog blogger Big Dog (Mohamed Zakhir) has challenged Chamil Wariya to resign as chief executive of the government-funded Malaysian Press Institute, a training organisation for journalists, following Chamil’s repudiation of a short story he wrote which became the subject of a RM30mil defamation suit by the DAP’s Teresa Kok, MP for Seputeh.
On Monday, Chamil apologised in court and in a strongly-worded statement censured Utusan Malaysia for its unethical and unprofessional conduct in the way it edited his original article, published on Oct 12, 2008 as Politik Baru YB J in Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of the paper.
In response, Big Dog said Chamil was no longer fit to lead the MPI after having denied his own work and “backstabbed his former employer”.
However, the short story Politik Baru YB J as published by Mingguan Malaysia, referred to a politician named Josephine. In the court statement on Monday, Chamil accused Utusan Malaysia of having made changes without his knowledge or approval.
The repudiation of the article is in sharp contrast to Chamil’s explanation to Deborah Loh of the Nut Graph in an email interview in October 2008 that “YB Josephine was a made-up character that has no resemblance at all to [Teresa]. YB Teresa Kok can be vocal at times and disliked by some for her style of politics, but generally she is a responsible politician and responsive to her constituents. YB J is not.” Chamil had also said he had wanted to be a novelist and writing cerpen (short stories) was a start.
He made no criticism of Utusan Malaysia at the time or complained about the way the article had been published.
Today, Big Dog said that as a result of the court statement Chamil could now be seen as “unprincipled” and of being used “a tool to demonise a mainstream media”. He asked: “How could he still be in the ranks of journos, let alone lead an organization that is supposed to train new journos.”
Christian plot: Big Dog, Hassan Ali and Utusan’s Zaini
Big Dog himself is no stranger to controversy. He is a leading member of the Umno blog network that includes Rocky, the Mole, Brick in the Wall, The Choice, OutSyed the Box, Dr Novandri, ParpuKari and many others. He is known to be a supporter of Mukhriz Mahathir, son of the former prime minister, and is said to be well paid as a hatchetman conducting campaigns on behalf of certain Umno politicians or factions.
Big Dog and the Christian conspiracy
Big Dog is the blogger who accused the DAP and evangelical Christians of a conspiracy to to make Christianity an official religion and place a Christian as prime minister. This blog piece, unsubstantiated, was carried on the front page of Utusan Malaysia, where Zaini Hassan is a senior editor.
Hassan Ali, Khir Toyo and the Malay power plot
Hassan Ali, then of PAS and later sacked for involvement in another anti-Christain campaign, was exposed by Khalid Samad, MP of Shah Alam, as having conspired with Mohd Khir Toyo, deposed as Selangor menteri besar in the 2008 elections, to bring about an all-Malay government in the state.
Teresa Kok, Khir Toyo and the azan issue
The Teresa Kok issue arose in the midst of political turmoil in 2008 and Teresa and the DAP were mauled by Big Dog and others for suing Utusan Malaysia after she suffered a two-week campaign against her, led by Mohd Khir Toyo in Utusan Malaysia, based on allegations that she had told a mosque to turn down the pre-dawn azan call to prayer. (A mosque official later said the loudspeaker had been faulty.)
As a result, Teresa was detained for a week under the Internal Security Act. When she was released, the deputy IGP said there was no basis for continuing to detain her.
Defending Utusan for press freedom
The pro-Umno blog network has staunchly defended Utusan Malaysia in the name of press freedom, in the face of complaints about its coverage of opposition politicians, and have attacked the DAP for continually taking legal action to sue the paper for defamation.
Today, Rocky also stuck a knife in Chamil’s back by making a snide reference to “intriguing” reasons for Chamil’s about-turn in the Teresa Kok suit, but made no reference to his own defence of Utusan at the time, his disparaging remarks about Teresa and the DAP’s support of press freedom, or his own support in the name of press freedom of a Cheras politician’s attempt to get a free publicity ride out of the controversy by raising public funds for the defence of Utusan Malaysia. (Utusan group is a public-listed company on the stock exchange with a market capitalisation of RM78mil and sales of RM366mil.)