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Did councillor pay to free reporter’s car?

Fri 2015-Apr-17 @ MYT 10:50:32 am

• Money and favours: press ethics at stake
• In Penang, a question of possible corruption
• Did councillor get anything in return?

 

File photo: Council staff issuing a parking summons

File photo: Council staff issuing a parking summons


 

Disturbing questions arise from a letter to Malaysiakini published last night, a condensed version of which is below. A law lecturer says a Penang councillor paid the fee to release a reporter’s car that had been impounded for a parking offence. He heard about it from the reporter’s Facebook (the posting has since been deleted, I’m told).

If the incident is true, it was stupid of the reporter to have asked a politician for a favour that involves fines, compounded fines, or money. It was stupid of the politician to have done so.

The exchange of money, in cash or kind, in return for favours is probably best described as corruption, but whether it is an offence in law has to be determined.

But the fact that this account has surfaced puts the whole journalism community on the spot, and not only in Penang.

What will journalists do about this?

Issue a statement? Pretend it never happened? Ask for a favour to cover it up?

Freedom of the press is under attack not just by policemen using the law to jail journalists, but by the actions of journalists themselves when they exchange favours or trade information.

Will journalists themselves do anything about this?

The letter to Malaysiakini (condensed) is below.

SHAMSER SINGH THIND
a law lecturer in Penang

I was browsing my Facebook one day when I read one press reporter’s post complaining about an incident some time ago where her illegally parked car had been towed away by Council enforcement officers. Obviously this is not that newsworthy. What caught my attention was how this incident was resolved.

According to the said reporter, one of the MPPP councillors paid the fine and redeemed the car for her. I am not sure whether or not this is true but, for the sake of this article, let us assume that this claim is true.

Now why would an MPPP councillor pay a fine to redeem a towed car for any person?

I vividly remember that several months ago the car of one of my students was towed away for being parked illegally along Dunlop Road in George Town, Penang.

I immediately called up one MPPP councillor to ask for his help. He told me that there is nothing that can be done to redeem the car except by paying the stipulated fine at the MPPP enforcement office behind Penang Times Square.

Why did the MPPP councillor pay the fine for the reporter?

File photo: Action against illegal parking

File photo: Action against illegal parking

The councillor in my student’s case certainly did not do the same!

Of course MPPP councillors have to be always on the ground serving the public but I strongly believe that it does not include settling fines imposed by MPPP for another person, especially if that other person is a press reporter. It might give the false impression that certain people are given privileges by MPPP councillors because of their positions.

Not only Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion; Caesar himself, too, must be above suspicion.

I urge the MPPP councillor who allegedly paid the fine on behalf of the reporter to reveal himself and explain why he did this favour, and more importantly he ought to disclose what consideration if any he has received in return of such a favour.

I also urge the state executive councilor in charge of local government, YB Chow Kon Yeow, to investigate this matter and clarify whether or not such action amounts to conduct unbecoming an MPPP councillor.

Condensed from a letter published at Malaysiakini
http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/295507

5 Comments
  1. Hamilton Bacon permalink
    Fri 2015-Apr-17 @ MYT 12:39:43 pm 12:39

    I’ll just say that without integrity, there is no dignity, credibility and professionalism.

  2. wadefak permalink
    Fri 2015-Apr-17 @ MYT 21:03:07 pm 21:03

    Whoever this Shamser is, I say he is not a very smart law lecturer. He himself revealed that he had tried to get help from an MPPP councillor but failed. Is this a case of jealousy?

    In the case of this reporter who is known to me, she had only called for help as she was never caught in such a situation. I learnt that she the councilor had lend her the money to settle the fine as she was not carrying enough cash with her. The councilor, if anything, should be commended for not waiving the fine and had instead followed the procedure where a receipt was also issued and the said sum of RM150 has also been returned to the councilor who was merely helping out on his own personal capacity.

    It is too bad that Uppercaise and Malaysiakini chose to highlight such a petty matter which clearly goes to show that both are out to get the reporter.

  3. ishish permalink
    Fri 2015-Apr-17 @ MYT 22:03:25 pm 22:03

    whoever who is behind Uppercaise is clearly out to get the reporter for some reason. Who is this reporter anyway?

  4. wuteva permalink
    Fri 2015-Apr-17 @ MYT 23:21:28 pm 23:21

    Bodo ka apa penulis ni? Sah-Sah la ahli majlis tu just tolong pinjamkan duit pasal reporter tu dok meroyan keta dia keta tow.. pelik. Ahli majlis buat baik pun disangka buruk. Tak salah kalau dia pinjamkan wang dia dulu. Kami ni reporter duit tak banyak. Ahli majlis tu murah hati nak tolong tapi dia hanya pinjamkan wang, bukan tolong settle saman.. Pelik manusia kat dunia ni. Kes keciK mcm ni pun nak dijadikan isu. bukannya reporter tu bagi apa2 habuan pun kat ahli majlis tu.. ni dah takdak isu sangat dah ni. Bukan IoJ tu utk membantu reporter ke? Ni nampak sangat dok cari pasal dengan reporter sorang tu..

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