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Hata Wahari: Utusan writes only on Umno’s say-so

Tue 2013-Sep-3 @ +08 19:38:41 pm
from Malay Mail Online
Nothing in Utusan goes without Umno’s nod, says ex-staff writer
Sept 2, 2013
Hata Wahari continues campaign to expose Utusan policy

Hata Wahari continues campaign to expose Utusan policy

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — Any issue that is played up by Utusan Malaysia only sees print if it is given the green light by Umno’s top leadership, a former senior writer with the Malay daily said today.

Hata Wahari, who was sacked by the Malay newspaper in May 2010, said that this was the trend he saw based his own observations while working as an Utusan Malaysia journalist for 16 years.

“What is done by Utusan appears to always have something to do with Umno policy… unless they get the nod from the leadership, they won’t play up an issue,” he said at a forum called “Memahami Utusan — Siapakah Awang Selamat (Understanding Utusan — Who is Awang Selamat)” here.

Hata, who briefly headed the National Union of Journalists not long before his summary dismissal, claimed that the management principles in Utusan Malaysia was no different from Umno, where everyone bows to the whims of the top executive – which in the newspaper’s case is the chief editor.

In a tirade against the broadsheet’s regular columnist who pens articles under the pseudonym “Awang Selamat”, Hata said the anonymous writer enjoyed extensive immunity on whatever topic broached — so long as it suited the interests of a select few in Umno and did not impact negatively on the government’s image.

“Whatever Awang Selamat criticises, it will spur the prime minister into action.

“This makes Awang Selamat very powerful. With this much power, do you think the writer who takes on the title Awang Selamat will want to share? I don’t think so,” he said, stopping short of naming the personality or personalities behind the nom-de-plume.

Awang Selamat is generally known to represent the collective voice of the paper’s editors.

Hata, who became a DAP member after his sacking, has been a regular critic of the editorial policy of the right-leaning Malay daily.

Utusan Malaysia front pageLast May, he staged a solitary protest in front of Utusan’s headquarters in Cheras, an annual affair since his sacking three years ago.

Utusan’s Awang Selamat column is known for taking controversial positions on several key issues surrounding race, religion and Malay sovereignty.

Among the column’s latest targets include the surau at a private resort in Johor, which has since been demolished on grounds that the sanctity of the prayer room was defiled by a group of Buddhist monks from Singapore who performed prayers there after getting permission by the resort’s Muslim owner, also a Singaporean.

Awang Selamat has also targeted the Chinese community for being ungrateful, following Barisan Nasional losing out on popular support despite winning the recently concluded 13th General Election.


  1. ian pereira permalink
    Tue 2013-Sep-3 @ +08 20:42:22 pm 20:42

    Philip Lim: Yesterday and today still the same. He was one of those unsung heroes on the editorial floor.
    Great personal piece Gobind. You have not lost your touch after all these years. Thanks for the memories. – ian

  2. Shadaan permalink
    Thu 2013-Sep-5 @ +08 09:53:32 am 09:53

    Awang Selamat is not a journalist but a racist terrorist, defined by the world dictionary as person who employs written terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. This guy writes abusive messages soliciting an uprising against certain minority groups. His love for his own race and religion has made him basically stupid and idiotic. He is a racist and a Malay fascist who has lost his humanity. Telling people to migrate is a stupid thing, if he understands that there is a constitution which guarantees the rights and privileges of citizen of a country why would he say a thing like that. I am of the opinion that he lacks the intelligence to communicate and argue intelligently over an issue so he just utters nonsense. Somehow the UMNO politician’s seem to love this fool. Either they are foolish like him or are just using him because they recognise his stupidity. You think this guy is a Muslim and prays five times a day also practice racism, as a racist, does he have his own name for racism, called Ketuanan Melayu. If it is his aim to unite the Malays he must be honest and sincere about it and of course must not be acting like some brainless racist idiot. Could Malay unity be achieved by us behaving like some uncouth brainless idiots like this columnist? He hates the Chinese whom he claim are racist and he himself writes ultra-racist blogs, what an idiot. He is definitely not an aboriginal person therefore he could also migrate back to Indonesia where his fore fathers come from and leave the Malaysians to get along better.

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