Media pariah duo are throwing spanners to the works


The media pariah duo is at it again. Bitter for being displaced for the disposition of their Boss PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, they now use alternative media to undermine the administration of Prime Minister VI Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak, especially after the announcement of changeover of leadership in Media Prima Bhd. recently.

Malaysian Insider has their angle of spinning against PM Dato’ Seri Najib with clear ulterior motives laced with malice:

Umno reins in its media

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 — Headlines are being scrutinised. Captions are being commented on. The space for alternative views is shrinking.

Instructions are flowing from Putrajaya, not necessarily from the Prime Minister but from individuals who claim they are empowered to speak on his behalf.

The nett result: the mood in newsrooms across the country has become more cautious and editors more wary of pushing the envelope since Datuk Seri Najib Razak became the chief executive of Malaysia.

And the sentiment in the profession is that the controls are going to get tighter now that Najib has installed Datuk Johan Jaafar as the head of the Media Prima empire and has endorsed the return of Datuk Ahmad A. Talib as the editorial adviser to the New Straits Times Press stable of newspapers.

Both individuals were senior members of the media establishment during the Mahathir era, a period when the Opposition had to be content with footnote coverage and the public was served with daily dose of government speak.

Johan was the top editor at Utusan Malaysia while Ahmad rose to become the group editor of the New Straits Times.

Skewed coverage of the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim abuse of power and sodomy trials in the mainstream media more than any other news event came to signify all that was wrong with the press during the Mahathir years. The one-sidedness led to the birth of websites and the Internet as a powerful platform for alternative views in Malaysia.

Ten years after the Anwar trials, the power of the Internet was felt. Pakatan Rakyat and its band of supporters used blogs and other alternative media platforms to convince Malaysians that the time for change had come.

After losing its two-thirds majority in Parliament and five states to the Opposition, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was forced to say that the Barisan Nasional “certainly lost the Internet war,” and had made “a serious misjudgment” by relying solely on government-controlled newspapers and television.

During the Abdullah years, the media were given more space to criticise government policies and debate contentious issues. But Umno members felt that this policy was misguided because it only opened the ruling party and some of their politicians and institutions to ridicule.

Many Umno members yearned for a return to the Mahathir days when the mainstream media displayed their allegiance to BN and antipathy to the Opposition openly.

When it became clear that Abdullah could no longer remain as Umno president and PM, there were fears that Najib would bring about a tighter control of the media.

Publicly, the PM has said he wants to build a free press that is transparent, accountable and caters to the needs of all Malaysians regardless of their race.

To “build a democracy (that is) responsive to the needs of the people”, Malaysia needs a media that will “report what they see, without fear of consequence”, Najib said recently.

But there have been mixed signals, with a steady flow of instructions to editors from Najib’s aides and those who claim they are speaking on his behalf.

Reporters have been asked to stop poking around and digging up dirt on the political infighting in Terengganu and play down adverse comments on 1 Malaysia.

Ahmad left the NST in 2004 and was part of senior management which presided over the steepest drop in the newspaper’s circulation. He worked with Maxis for several years before becoming a media strategist and blogger. He was part of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s inner circle.

Now, he has been given the task of bringing some order at the NST.

The Malaysian Insider understands that there has been some concern over the editorial stance of the newspapers under the stable.

The NSTP board of directors is expected to meet soon to confirm Ahmad’s position as the editorial adviser. Group-editor-in chief Datuk Hishammuddin Aun, a newspaperman who was elevated during Abdullah’s reign, is expected to report to him.


It has been a practice that mainstream media (MSM) editors were briefed on specific Government communique’. It was meant to ensure the right message is transmitted, especially with regards to policies and stance. The confidence of the rakyat is paramount for programs and development plans to work. Moreover, in situation of crisis, like the global economic meltdown the world is facing today.

The truth is far from what has been depicted. It was the ‘Level Four Boys’ who were calling up editors of mainstream media, sometime twice daily to ensure the ‘right message’ was carried. The resorted to specifically tell editors off what and how to write and even instructed which photo to use.

Case in point; the incidence when PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah first addressed the Dewan Rakyat as the Fifth Prime Minister in November 2003. Editors were ‘instructed’ to highlight the point that he paused when mentioning the word “Allah”, to illustrate that he is a God fearing man. Of course, being the month of Ramadhan, it was magnified further as PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah had the aura being a ‘son of a famous Ulama’.

Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan and henchman Brenden Pereira have been spinning and lying when they were at the helm of NSTP.  They even resorted to ‘cheating’. Their efforts were never in the interest of the nation. It was more to make PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah look good, despite the slip-ups that the man made time and again, even in public.  At all cost, these media pariah duo will gamble just to potray PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah being a populist, rather than the man of righteousness, especially to protect the interests of the majority (the fundamental principle of upholding democracy). It was done even at expense to disintegrate the social fabric that had been painstaking built through decades. As result of these over spinning and sometimes lying, the rakyat, especially the educated and professional lot simply starting to loathe MSM, in favour of alternative media. The NST, which was for so long had been the mainstay and ‘unofficial representation’ of Malaysian news in English, lost a lot of their market share to The Star.

When he was at the helm of NSTP, Riong Kali attempted to demonise Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, a Statesman who has been admired and adored for his bold criticism against PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah poor administration and family’s ‘invisible hands’. His ulterior motives reflects his propensity to ‘work’ for the Singaporeans.

It is right time to correct things and undo all over again. At the juncture where a lot of repair works needed to be carried out as the result of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah’s ‘liberalisation’ policies that further wedged a defragmented the Malaysian society into chronic level and coupled with the economic slowdown looming at our doorsteps in catastrophic proportions, the right media people should be brought in and measures put in place.

They should do the right thing. The media pariah duo’s time has been up and game over for them. They may be against UMNO and its an open secret so many UMNO leaders, which include MT level are vehemently against the duo for what they did to NST. Unfortunately, PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah gave a carte blanche to Riong Kali and this ‘blanket of protection’ allowed the two media pariah reign freely, systematically ‘executing the destruction’ of what so many painstakingly built over the years.

UMNO played a pivottal role in recuciating NST’s life here in Malaysia, after Singapore was separated from the Federation. NST became the voice of Malaysia in English that was so recognised to the world. It is the right time to put NST back to where it was and regain all the ‘lost grounds’, especially the systematically dismanteling by Riong Kali and Pereira. NST must be revieved back to its former glory, for the sake of Malaysia. Now, the UMNO President, who is also the Prime Minister is making the first steps for Malaysia to move on, with correcting the media people.

Malaysia needs to move on. PM Dato’ Seri Najib’s “1 Malaysia” policy to unify multiplural Malaysians without them losing the etno-identity is important. Malaysians, despite being different in many ways, should be galvanised into a nation and only unity, will ensure the nation is propelled to the right direction at the right pace. Confidence level of the rakyat onto PM Dato’ Seri Najib’s infant administration is pertinent. A strong, responsible and credible media is essential to make this ‘undoing and propelling job’ successful. The nation building process is paramount and the new Media Prima stewards will complement the process.

The change that so many Malaysians aspire is here. It starts with the right media people doing the right thing, for the interests of the majority, strategically.

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 16:23  Comments (7)