Bully boy Zahid uses KDN to threaten journos again

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

Is it the Ministry of Home Affairs of all Malaysians or the ministry for protection of loudmouthed political bullies?

• Zahid twists facts, claims attacks on him are attacks on KDN
• Then accuses journalists of “spinning” to suit political interests

Facing intense political pressure over a letter that he wrote under the KDN letterhead to an alleged gambling kingpin, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has now tried to use Home Ministry staff against journalists in order to save his arse.

At a monthly staff assembly, he claimed that “the home ministry is under attack. Yes we are.”

This is despite the fact that no one in the past weeks has criticised the ministry itself or its civil servents, only Ahmad Zahid and the letter that Zahid wrote, using his ministerial position, to vouch for Paul Phua, who is on trial in the United States for running an illegal World Cup gambling ring.

Zahid, however, tried to turn the criticism as if they were attacks on the ministry.

When we execute our duties not everyone will be pleased. We cannot please everyone. All they do is scrutinise us. There are many good things that we have done but they never report it. But when there are a few bad things, they focus only on that. This culture of spinning has become something of a norm. — Malay Mail Online

The minister conveniently twisted the fact that he is the one being criticised, for writing on KDN letterhead, for committing the Malaysian Government into an endorsement of Paul Phua: the FBI, relying on a report from Malaysian police, says he is part of the Hong Kong-based 14K Triad. Continue reading


Will Malaysia end crimes against journalists?

When will Malaysia begin to protect journalists?

Human rights commission says the police made the press their target.

Human rights commission says the police made the press their target.

More than a dozen journalists were attacked by police in April 2012 while on duty covering the Bersih rally. Most were photographers. The attackers, as reported by the journalists themselves, were mostly young policemen whose name tags had been removed.One of those attacked, Radzi Razak, then of the Sun and now with Malaysiakini, became a poster boy as part of an international campaign for the protection of journalists.

No one in the police force has ever been charged or punished for physically attacking journalists, removing their camera storage cards and in a couple of cases, damaging photographic equipment.

No one in the police or the government has taken responsibility for a shameful act that was criticised by the Human Rights Commission.

This year, journalist Susan Loone of Malaysiakini was arrested by the police under the Sedition Act for merely reporting on what a politician said.

The bully

Apa Lagi Zahid Mahu?

Nothing in what Susan Loone wrote can even remotely be regarded as “seditious”, taking the word to mean rousing the people to rise up and topple authority, or as “hate” speech.

The fact is plainly that that the police preferred to take exception to a politician’s negative remark about the police which was reported.

Since when did making criticism of the police force become a crime?

This year, another journalist, a reporter with the Sun, became the subject of public abuse and insults by the Home Minister, Ahmad Zahidi Hamid, because the reporter had allegedly misquoted the minister.

So a reporter made a mistake. Does that justify a Minister behaving like a thug and hurling public insults and public abuse at a journalist?

MINISTERIAL BULLYING: Ahmad Zahid behaving like a cheap nightclub bouncer

MINISTERIAL BULLYING: Ahmad Zahid behaving like a cheap nightclub bouncer

Ahmad Zahidi has in the past routinely abused Malaysiakini in particular and now has chosen to use his high position to subject a lowly reporter to public abuse — yet at the same time tried to make a big deal about press ethics.Does he even know the meaning of the word? Or of other words, like “honour” and “integrity” and “public service”?

Did the sub-contracted louts of Umno Penang take their cues from the thuggish and bullying behaviour of the home minister when they attacked citizens at Speakers’ Corner recently?

So what standard of ethics and public service allows a Minister to behave like a common lout or a cheap nightclub bouncer? And worse, by the fact that he holds high position, thus encourage the police force (which is under the purview of his ministry), and KDN civil servants who control the media, and Umno division heads to also behave like thugs?

Susan Loone committed no crime in doing her job as a professional journalist. Neither did the Sun reporter.

The crime lies not in what was reported.

The crime is not that a journalist reported a negative remark or made a mistake.

The crime is a government and a police force that believes it is above the law.

The crime lies in a police force that has shown, by its actions, that it prefers to protect politicians of the right colour, religion or party — and protect themselves — rather than protect the common citizen, or the right of journalists to keep the citizen informed.

The crime is a police force and a political establishment that wants the citizen and the journalist to STFU. Shut up! is what Umno says. And “Shut up!” is what the police force says.

That is a crime against the citizen by any measure.


from Unesco

When attacks on journalists remain unpunished, a very negative message is sent that reporting the “embarrassing truth” or “unwanted opinions” will get ordinary people in trouble.

Furthermore, society loses confidence in its own judiciary system which is meant to protect everyone from attacks on their rights. Perpetrators of crimes against journalists are thus emboldened when they realize they can attack their targets without ever facing justice.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ (IDEI).

The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

This short video is joint produced by The Public Liberties and Human Rights department at Aljazeera, in co-operation with several international organizations who promote press freedom to help raise awareness of the danger of impunity.

Will Malaysia ever have the courage to protect journalists?

KDN holds back Economist’s Arab issue

Held back by KDN

KDN have held back the current issue of The Economist, featuring the “poisoned history” of the Arabs, according to Malaysiakini. “Due to sensitive content in the July 5, 2014 print edition of The Economist, there has been a delay in distribution,” the weekly newspaper said in an email to subscribers. It is not known which article was deemed “sensitive” by KDN, and the ministry has yet to respond to Malaysiakini’s enquiries.

Other articles are on
Indonesia’s appalling deforestation
• the Indonesian presidential election A political naif represents a more hopeful future for Indonesia than a Suharto-era soldier

Here’s the Malaysiakini report. Continue reading

Hisham’s honeyed words after 4 years of repression

After four years of defending Umno’s continuing repression of free speech and free assembly, Hishammuddin Hussein Onn put on his best statesman-like manners when taking leave of his hot seat at the home ministry. On his farewell visit to the ministry, he spoke about healing wounds and building a nation — in contrast to the hardline actions by his ministry and the police to suppress freedom of thought, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and attempts to further muzzle the press.

Some highlights of his term:
• Defending the cow’s head protest by Muslims in Shah Alam – August 2009 | Video
Zunar arrested under sedition, raids without warrant to seize copies of his cartoon books – Sept 2010
• Banned Kim Quek’s book The March to Putrajaya, calling it an attempt to public anger and hatred – Sept 2010
This must be a "doctored" photo. Who's the old aunty in the yellow dress?• Banned people from wearing Bersih’s yellow T-shirts, with arrests of at least 250 people – June 2011
• Declaring Bersih illegal under the Societies Act even though it is not a society – June 2011

“Kenyataan Menteri Dalam Negeri itu tidak masuk akal kerana setelah menggelarkan gabungan itu sebagai pertubuhan haram pada 1 Julai tahun lalu, kemudiannya membiarkan pertubuhan itu mengadakan perhimpunan pada 9 Julai tahun sama. Pada pendapat saya, keputusan itu adalah tidak rasional … keputusan untuk mendakwa Bersih sebagai pertubuhan haram dibuat tanpa mengambil kira fakta yang relevan.
High Court judge Rohana Daud
July 2012

• Tried to bully the press with a media council, to be headed by him and information minister Rais Yatim | Malaysian media making a rod for its own back
• Arrested, then re-arrested, under the Emergency Ordinance six members of Parti Socialis, including Dr Michael Jayakumar Devaraj, MP for Sungei Siput, and 24 others travelling to a Berish event – July 2011
• Seemingly condoned the beating up of the press and seizure of equipment while covering the Bersih rally in April 2012 | Journalists submit petition to PM’s office

Sweet words with no humanity.

This is what he said today at his farewell to the home ministry:

We cannot fight hate with hate and fight divide with divide. We have to find another movement that will unite, heal wounds and look forward ahead in respect of nation building. That I believe is more the positive move forward.

Disappointments or otherwise, we have to look at the country as whole and cannot [look] at cases or incidents in isolation because the responsibility of each ministry is the interest of the nation and public.

to Home Ministry staff
You do what is right and what is right if it is based on the majority, if it is based on what is good for the nation and there is consensus amongst the top ten (leaders in the ministry) that we have created. Do it. Do it without fear or favour… Don’t have to be apologetic in our actions. Maybe many outside do not understand the burden and responsibility we have bear. At times, we have to make decision of life and death

Full report at FZ.com

In other words, no apology for repression.

Tomorrow, he takes over at Mindef. So far, thank goodness, the military only fights foreigners. But there are billions in lucrative arms contracts waiting to be signed and sealed.


Apa Lagi Zahid Hamidi Mahu?

I will scrutinise every statement, every sentence, every paragraph of Malaysiakini’s news. Don’t play with fire with me.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi PhD, minister of Malaysiakini affairs

Apa Lagi Zahid Mahu?

on Lim Guan Eng and the migrate issue

It is Lim who should apologise to me, because he misquoted my statement. I should not be apologising to him. Where are you from? That’s it lah, you (Malaysiakini) always twist my statements. It happens too often. When there is no issue, you create one. Write properly. It is he (Lim) who needs to apologise, not me, okay

on Anwar Ibrahim and their fathers’ countries

This country is also not (Anwar’s) father’s. It is neither my father’s country nor his father’s country. You have to write this down, Malaysiakini. You (Malaysiakini) always spin. Please write according to journalistic ethics. What else does Malaysiakini want to ask? Please don’t spin. I will scrutinise every statement, every sentence, every paragraph of Malaysiakini’s news. Don’t play with fire with me

Ahmad Zahid Hamini, PhD
Minister of Home Affairs
Minister of Malaysiakini Affairs
Minister of Foreign Home Affairs

» It’s not your father’s country either, retorts Zahid
» Don’t spin, stick to ethics, minister warns Malaysiakini

Selling off the Star? The plot thickens…


Remainders of tthe day: free election campaign copies of the Star

Remainders of tthe day: free election campaign copies of the Star

More talk is going on about what might be going on behind the scenes at The Star, following the chairman’s denial on Wednesday of plans for a management buyout of the public-listed publishing company, Star Publications.

Fong Chan Onn, the chairman, described Internet rumours of a buyout as “malicious” and politically-motivated, denying that there were any such plans.

Selling the paper that sold out?

Sucking up to power: the paper that sold out

Sucking up to power

The chairman is a former vice-president of the MCA, which is the majority shareholder in the company, with a 42% stake: at the current market price of about RM2.50, the investment has a market value of about RM783mil, a sharp decline from the RM1.28bln that the party paid to its investment arm Huaren Holdings in October 2010.

His denial was promptly flagged by some Star journalists as a hint of something brewing, and that the rumours might be true (in the way of the cynical adage of journalists that “it’s not true until it’s been denied”).

To further intensify speculation, an informant says that Fong and several management people are spending the weekend in Hong Kong, and suggests that this might be related to plans for the company’s future.

Among those said to be in Hong Kong are both Fong and his controversial deputy executive chairman, advertising tycoon Vincent Lee, who effectively is the boss of the company.

It was not known if group chief editor Wong Chun Wai was among them. However, Vincent’s pal Brian Martin, who is in charge of Star Metro, was said to be in the group, which possibly included some politicians and business associates.

Who owns the Star?

Substantial shareholders No of shares Percentage Post buy-back
MCA 313,315,760 42.43% 47.14%
Amanah Saham 73,020,200 9.89% 10.99%
EPF 72,337,900 9.80% 10.88%
Institutional and unit trusts 42,034,000 5.70%
Directors’ holdings
Kamal M Hashim & family 1,000,000 0.13%
Vincent Lee 697,300 0.09%
Linda Ngiam and family 893,800 0.12%
Wong Chun Wai 10,000

Wednesday May 22 is the Star’s annual shareholders’ meeting. Shareholders will be asked to approve a motion to permit the company to buy back up to 10% of its shares. Shrinking the number of shares on float would slightly increase the proportional size of each substantial shareholder’s stake, as shown above.


» What now for the Star, caught between its readers and politician owners?
» DAP’s advantage: freer Chinese newspapers
» Hypocrisy of the Star – Insider editorial
» Fearmongering by the Star
» Boycott BN’s big four papers, says Ambiga
» Utusan back to whipping up racial fears
» Remains of the day: just throwing money around

New KDN brings back old housing policy

Ahmad Zaid Hamidi announces new housing policy

Ahmad Zaid Hamidi announces new housing policy

Return to an empty shell at the silenced Star

Tales of the Dark Days – XI
Recollections by some Star journalists of the Shutdown

The day of the dictatorThose black days when the Star was shut downThe game of Risk in journalismTunku’s lament, then off in search of jobsA personal silver liningHow the Star newsroom culture changedThe voice of silence. . .Dreading the late-night knock on the doorWedding bells and tears – then screws and hinges
Hidden hands of the blackest dayWhen the Sunday Star almost defied KDN
Rookie reporter sees end of an era

By Matthew George

Having left The Star almost exactly a year before the guillotine fell, I decided to visit the office in Section 13 on my first return home in early January 1988.

There are few experiences as eerie as walking into a deserted newsroom. Normally a hub of activity, the silence in the vast space spoke volumes of the treachery inflicted on what was once a vibrant people’s paper as the masthead label proudly declared.

There were about six or seven editorial staff present, presumably there to draw comfort from each other or just to while away the time.

There were a few familiar faces from my time at the paper, where I had honed my skills, on different occasions, as reporter, writer and editor, thanks to versatile comrades such as Cheryl Dorall, K. Nadarajah, PC Liew, Gobind Rudra, and the encouragement of others such as M. Menon, but time has taken its toll and names escape me today. Continue reading

Rookie reporter sees end of an era

Tales of the Dark Days – X
Recollections by some Star journalists of Shutdown days

By Delia Paul

I was perhaps still the newest reporter on board when the government pulled the Star’s KDN that October day in 1987. I had joined the paper just six months earlier, reporting for the Sunday arts pages.

The Star then was an exciting place to be; circulation was rising and we were giving the NST a run for its money. The Sunday Star had an excellent team culture: we had weekly meetings to discuss story ideas with colleagues, and the editor, Cheryl Dorall, had a large supply of international papers, including the Sunday Times, that we were encouraged to read in between interviews and filing stories.

The closure was a shock, partly because being a reporter was our entire lifestyle for many of us young singles.

A congenial bunch of us twentysomethings shared a house in Section 17, among them Section Two reporters T. Pushparani and Amy Chew. We had long, earnest conversations on the prospects of a Star stripped of its leading journos, and whether we’d find other jobs.

As a rookie, I didn’t feel I had much right to complain, when so many experienced people were wondering how to feed children and pay mortgages.

In the days immediately following the shutdown, people still came to the office. With fortitude and irrefutable logic, Cheryl decided to run staff training for the Sunday Star reporters on the basis that this period of enforced idleness should be well spent – hopefully, in her case, not behind bars.

We younger ones hoped that some deal was imminent, that we’d get our jobs back soon, and that we’d figure out the political ramifications later. No one seemed to have the full picture, and rumours abounded.

In the aftermath of the shutdown, there were parties, with a lot of beer, especially NV Raman’s farewell bash before he left for the US. Other leading lights had already gone.
Continue reading

When the Sunday Star almost defied KDN

Tales of the Dark Days – IX
Recollections by some Star journalists of Shutdown days

By Cheryl Dorall

The fact that The Sunday Star had a separate KDN permit seemed to have escaped the attention of the officers at the Home Ministry. In fact for a wild 24 hours in the newsroom we thought we would cock a snook at the Government and publish the Sunday Star that week. Publish and be damned so to speak, go down with all guns blazing.

It was amazing that we had spotted that the Sunday Star’s KDN was not on the list of the proscribed and that someone in the Home Ministry had not.

In the end cooler heads prevailed and a delegation went to speak to our chairman Tunku Abdul Rahman who advised (possibly wisely) not to poke this particular stick at the Government.

So the office duly contacted the Home Ministry and asked them sweetly whether they also meant the Sunday Star. I can imagine the red faces there. They said ‘yes’ and promptly sent round a notice adding the paper to the list.

Continue reading