‘Plagiarism’ and lies in official govt booklet

Govt endorses anonymous blogger’s anti-Semitic remarks
Blog article used almost word for word in govt booklet

A pro-Umno blogger’s article has been used almost word-for-word in a federal government “guidebook on current affairs” which contains unsubstantiated allegations, unverified assertions, misleading content and inaccuracies.

In doing so, without attributing the article to the blog, the federal government has

  • Plagiarised an anonymous blog
  • given endorsement to anti-Semitic remarks
  • endorsed unsubstantiated and unverified comment
  • brought up a 15-year-old issue about the Asian financial crisis
  • used federal funds and facilities for a clearly party political attack

In any properly-run parliamentary democracy, the minister responsible would be told to resign.

The government’s “guidebook” amounts to a taxpayer-funded propaganda booklet for the general election, which must be held by April 2013.
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Blogger’s anti-Semitic remarks reproduced by Government of Malaysia’s guidebook for Information Ministry staff

About RM300,000 is to be spent producing 50,000 copies of the book for distribution to the public, the information minister said, and the guidebook used by the Information Ministry, Radio-Television Malaysia and Bernama.

Many of the issues in the booklet are political and reflect Umno’s attacks on Pakatan Rakyat and especially on Anwar Ibrahim. Federal government policies activities are given a political perspective.

The blog article reproduced by the government is itself two years old — and it dredges up the difference in opinion within the Umno leadership in 1997 about what to do in the face of the Asian financial crisis. The blog article refreshes old Umno smear of Anwar Ibrahim’s alleged links to Zionists and Jews.

When someone makes an allegation, we will clarify it objectively, clearly and factually

…the focus should be on its content which allows readers to understand the facts behind many issues.
Rais Yatim
minister of information
quoted by Malaysiakini last week

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The ministry does not attribute the article to the blog, Bicara Kelantan, run by an anonymous blogger, which places Anwar Ibrahim in conspiracy with “Zionists” in the International Crisis Group, a worldwide conflict-management advocacy organisation.

By using the article almost in full, the federal government is thus endorsing anti-Semitic remarks by the blogger, for example, that the International Crisis Group consists mainly of Jews.

The ICG’s web site, however, shows that its current governing board, trustees and advisers are well-known international figures from across the world, including Africa, the Middle East, India and China. They include former national presidents, former prime ministers, former foreign ministers, leaders of the United Nations and European Union, heads of media organisations, business leaders and others.

The blog article also attempts to give the impression that Anwar Ibrahim and the opposition are receiving financial help for “the next general election” — but does not say that the remark was made in 2003, about the election of March 2004 — by not making it clear, the federal government tries to give the impression that it means the coming 13th general election.

The article was published in 2010, a few months after Raja Petra Kamaruddin had written about Anwar Ibrahim’s former aides seeking financial support for the “Free Anwar Campaign” which he ran, and how money was sent, too late for the 2004 elections, but which then disappeared.

Raja Petra said the four former aides later joined Umno — one of those he named, Ezam Mohd Nor, was appointed a Senator by the Najib Razak government.

Produced by the information ministry’s special affairs unit and carrying the coat-of-arms of the federation, the 330-page booklet contains talking points on 44 issues that have been brought up, either as public issues of dispute, or as political issues raised by political parties.

Much of the content consists of political attacks on Pakatan Rakyat and its policies.

The federal government is thus about to spend RM300,000 of taxpayers’ funds to spread a blogger’s unsubstantiated and unverified claims supposedly in the cause of truth.

It boils down to a tiny number of politicians fighting to keep their jobs, their perks, their cronies and their project billions, by fending off another tiny number of politicians: all this at the expense of the millions of taxpayers, who consist of an overwhelming majority of ordinary citizens and voters not members of any party.

And they call these politicians “honourable”?

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