When will Riong Kali apologise?

Former Malaysia Airlines Chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli looking at Malaysian Insider's ad in NST and Beita Harian today

Repent is the flavour of the month. First, it was The Malaysian Insider. They apologised to Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli for their slanderous posting which perpetuated the lie that the former Malaysia Airlines Chairman aggregated RM 8 billion losses in his tenure.

The Malaysian Insider's apology to Tajudin Ramli, NST 7 Oct 2011

Then, today NST apologised to Kalimullah “Riong Kali” Hassan;


IN reference to our report in the New Sunday Times (Berita Minggu) dated Oct 2, 2011, headlined “Three queried over dinner with Singapore politicians”, we unreservedly apologise to chairman of the ECM Libra Financial Group Berhad, Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan, for the grief, distress and damage caused to him, his family and his business contacts.

We acknowledge that the report, quoting Perkasa information chief Ruslan Kassim, was without any foundation or basis altogether and that as a responsible media organisation, the New Sunday Times (Berita Minggu) should have made an attempt to verify the report before publication.

We undertake, in future, not to publish, without verification, any further allegations of this nature involving Kalimullah.
In response, Kalimullah said that the report, which alleged that he may have been involved in organising “dinners with several senior leaders of Singapore’s People’s Action Party (PAP)”, and “leaking secrets” was slanderous, defamatory and questioned his loyalty as a Malaysian.

“There is nothing wrong or illegal in having dinner with either PAP politicians or any other politician. In the course of my career as a journalist and businessman, I have met and had dinner with senior government leaders of many countries, as have many other Malaysians. I have also made friends with many with whom I still maintain contact.

“To infer any other motive to these meetings, other than business and personal friendship, is the result of inactive and small minds and intended to question my professionalism and my loyalty as a Malaysian citizen and is an attempt to malign and tarnish my good name and reputation.
“I find particularly reprehensible the fact that the New Sunday Times and Berita Minggu — of which I was only until end 2008 the group editor-in-chief and deputy chairman of the board — had published such outrageous allegations relying solely on an unsubstantiated statement. At the very least, they should have checked the facts, and contacted me, before publishing such an article, in line with good journalism practice.”

Kalimullah said he accepted the apology made by the New Sunday Times and Berita Minggu.

Read more: Apologyhttp://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/2solly/Article/#ixzz1bb2OBrS9


Good for NST. They own up to their inability to substantiate their reporting. This is a breadth of fresh air. Five years ago, something like this unimaginable.

The man who used his column in NST to lie

Then again, once Riong Kali spewed lies using his Sunday column in NST. It was about then Prime Minister ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah who supposedly went to see former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Tokyo.

Sunday Column: And who, really, is demonising whom? 

Sunday, 11 June 2006, 09:02am
©New Sundays Times (Used by permission)
By Kalimullah Hassan

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad says his criticisms of the current administration and his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are “not personal”.His son, Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, is upset that ministers and others have criticised Dr Mahathir and says that what his father raised “was rational, so answer rationally”.

And Dr Mahathir, ever the master strategist, has made his pre-emptive strike, predicting that “for the next 10 days, there will be lots of stories in the papers trying to demonise me, make me appear bad …”.

Therefore, if anybody criticises Dr Mahathir, then his prediction will come true – they are trying to demonise him.

The truth is that when Dr Mahathir retired, he was held in high esteem. People wished him well.

For the last two and a half years since his retirement, everyone, even his enemies, has treated him with kid gloves, not wanting to hurt his feelings because they all respected him and because he said he had retired.

So had my family and I, we had the greatest of respect.

When The Star’s deputy group chief editor Datuk Wong Chun Wai wrote that Dr Mahathir could have done more about wiping out graft when he was prime minister, he was swiftly shut up by criticisms from Dr Mahathir, and even Umno Youth president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Wong wrote in The Star that he sought a meeting with Dr Mahathir and apologised.

When Dr Mahathir attacked International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz over the Approved Permits (AP) issue, her belligerent defence of herself was pounced on by Umno members.

And then deputy minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin demanded that Rafidah apologise to Dr Mahathir.

But everyone knew that the AP policy had been contentious since its inception and that it was Dr Mahathir who appointed Rafidah as minister in charge of APs in 1987 and kept her there for the remainder of his 16 years in power.

Still, Rafidah sought to show her regrets by hugging Dr Mahathir and crying at the National Day parade last year.

From then on, Dr Mahathir criticised many government actions, such as the decision to raise the price of oil after it doubled within a year to US$70 per barrel (which almost every country in the world had done), on Proton, on the National Automotive Policy.

The Government gave explanations but to little avail.

Proton chairman Datuk Azlan Hashim failed to get an appointment with Dr Mahathir to explain the decisions.

Yet, all those at the receiving end exercised restraint. Out of respect. Out of a desire not to hurt Dr Mahathir’s feelings. Out of a wish to ensure his image as an elder statesman was preserved.

Then came the Cabinet decision to call off building the crooked bridge to Singapore.

Dr Mahathir unleashed the full force of his fury, and once again, a scenario the country had seen repeatedly during his 22 years of power was played out again.

Scathing remarks and provocative statements intended to provoke an equal and opposite reaction were made, like “half-past six Government with no guts”, “selling out the country”, “giving up the country’s sovereignty”.

Yet, again, restraint. Restraint. Restraint.

When former Foreign Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Fuzi Abdul Razak replied rationally, point for point, Dr Mahathir dismissed his answers as “rambling”.

It was still not good enough.

His adviser, former politician Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, arranged an interview with Malaysiakini, the Internet news site which he disliked with a passion when Dr Mahathir was prime minister.

Even then, despite Dr Mahathir’s scathing remarks, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi exercised what former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam describes as “an elegant silence”.

The Prime Minister was in Japanshortly after the Malaysiakini article appeared and was told that Dr Mahathir wanted to come and see him.

Abdullah, in the midst of breakfast with aides and officials, immediately put on his tie and told the ambassador that he would go and see his ex-boss rather than let Dr Mahathir come down and see him.

Yet, less than two weeks later, Dr Mahathir invited the foreign Press to his office and lambasted Abdullah and his administration.

He accused the current administration and Abdullah of many things – stabbing him in the back, ingratitude, and perhaps, the most provocative suggestion was that while he (Dr Mahathir) had no power to remove Abdullah, he said “it is for his own party (Umno) to remove him”.

This time, the reaction that Dr Mahathir wanted came – from Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to members of the Cabinet, mentris besar and chief ministers, the public and even some opposition parties.

They backed Abdullah and reminded Dr Mahathir that while he may have chosen Abdullah as his successor, the Prime Minister’s mandate came from the electorate which in 2004 voted in the current administration with the most popular margin in Malaysian history.

It is admirable for Mukhriz to display filial piety but what is the rationale for his father accusing the whole Cabinet of treason?

That’s what it really is when you say they sold out the country, that they are a Government with no guts, that they acted against the nation’s interests.

Was any thought given to how this would go down with investors and foreign Governments dealing with this administration?

What is the rationale for accusing the Prime Minister, who has never shown any disrespect to him, of ingratitude, of stabbing him in the back, and of suggesting that Abdullah can be removed by Umno?

Sure, Mukhriz feels hurt. Which son or daughter would want to see his or her father criticised?

What about the sons and daughters of the people accused of selling out their own country? How would they feel?

Several times since the crooked bridge was called off, Dr Mahathir has accused me of masterminding what he perceives as a “blackout” of him in the Press, not only in the New Straits Times group of which I am deputy chairman, but also in other mainstream media.

At a couple of Press conferences, he joked about my name, saying that the media was controlled by a Hindu God (Kali) and a Muslim priest (Mullah).

Some guys thought it was witty and laughed with him.

Go do a Google search, type: “Meaning of Kalimullah”.

The answer you get is: Musa is the Arabic name of the Prophet Moses. He is also referred to by the title Kalimullah meaning “He who spoke with Allah”. Musa is one of the prophets of Islam.

Doesn’t sound so funny or witty now, does it? Making fun of the prophets never is.

I am no prophet. I have all the imperfections and weaknesses of a mere mortal.

But as God is my witness, the accusations against me are false.

I did not respond although I was hurt. I did not respond when my 18-year-old daughter called me from Australia, crying, asking whether I was in trouble.

I did not respond because I reasoned that Dr Mahathir was angry the crooked bridge had been called off and that he was lashing out; and because he was someone I once had great respect for.

But I did wonder: Why me?

Dr Mahathir says it again and again, never checking whether his accusations are true.

Tells you something, doesn’t it?

So do I tell my children that making fun of their father’s name and accusing him of things he did not do is rational?

Just like accusing the Cabinet of selling out their country. What is so rational about that?


Riong Kali being Riong Kali, never did apologise for that lie. Even after Personal Assitant to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Sufi Yusoff clarified what actually happened in Tokyo. NST did not even carry Sufi’s clarification on Riong Kali’s lie:

I REFER to the Sunday Column “And who, really, is demonising whom?” (New Sunday Times, June 11).

I would like to point out several factual errors contained in the article:

• Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not seek an appointment with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi while both leaders were in Tokyo attending the Nikkei Conference.

In fact, it was the opposite. Dr Mahathir was only informed by a third party that the Prime Minister was on the way to call on him 20 minutes before he was due to leave the hotel on May 26.

To this, Dr Mahathir agreed and the two leaders met for about 10 minutes before Dr Mahathir had to take his leave.

• Dr Mahathir did not invite the foreign Press to, in your words, “lambast Abdullah and his administration”.

The Press conference on June 7 was called to announce the Perdana Leadership Foundation’s Global Peace Forum to be held from June 20-22. The foreign Press was there for that purpose.

However, as in all Press conferences, the foreign Press took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions on other matters.

• Individuals are free to give their views, opinions or advice to Dr Mahathir.

Many do that voluntarily. However, that does not make them “advisers”.

In this case, as mentioned in the column, I would like to clarify that Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad does not hold any formal post as adviser to Dr Mahathir.

Sufi Yusoff
Dr. Mahathir’s Personal Assistant

That clarification was posted on http://www.mykmu.net on 12 June 2006.

Recently, he went on ranting almost like an intoxicated person tweet-trigger-happy. He tweeted some very personal information to be taken into public domain and of course, some of it not true.  That is so unbecoming of him and his stature as Chairman of an investment bank, which is now playing the role of ‘adviser’ to DAP controlled Penang State Government.

Will Riong Kali apologise for these?

*Updated 2100hrs

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 18:00  Comments (2)