Saturday, November 04, 2006


Climate of fear at Balai Berita. At a Deepavali Open House last night, the conversation revolved around Brendan P's plagiarism, why the NSTP condones it, the attempt to intimidate the BBC, the gag order on our colleagues from the NSTP. Just then a young journalist from the NST walked up. "Hi, I'm xxx from, er, Bernama (giggles). Er, no, actually I'm from Singapore Straits Times (lol)."

There are some 1,000 journalists at Balai Berita, professionals who wield an instrument said to be mightier than the sword but whose mouths have been stuffed by yesterday's unprecedented gag order.
... no employees of the company are allowed to engage in or provide comments to the public, Press (international or local), television stations or any other media organisations except for the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and the Group Editor in Chief."
After the shock discovery that their group editor had plagiarized the work of a American journalist and has quit amid that scandal, the journalists at Balai Berita wanted answers. They wanted Brendan P to face them and give them his excuses. They wanted to ask the CEO why Brendan should not be sacked and why his resignation takes effect on Dec 31. They wanted to talk about plagiarism, the BIG sin. They wanted the GEIC to tell them if they, too, can use their positions as journalists to secure a small business contract for their spouses.

No one saw the gag order coming. "When Tun (Dr Mahathir) said Pak Lah is turning this country into a police state, our editors rubbished him," a young editor from the NST said. "Our papers rubbished him. Heck, some of us rubbished him! But now, what gives? We are journalists and we are not allowed to talk about these things? They are going to sack me if I talk about plagiarism with Tok Najib (the Deputy Prime Minister) and with my drinking buddies?"
"The company views this seriously and will not hesitate to take action should this be compromised."
I have read about gag orders on journalists and the media by governments in Iran, Poland and several other countries widely considered as "police states".

for an update on BBC's response to NST's intimidation, click here.


  1. Anonymous12:19 pm

    Instead of punishing Mr Brendan Fry-ra, the NSTP is threatening to fry its innocent staff if they say anything about Mr Fry-ra. They can't fry Mr Fry-ra because he keeps throwing Pak Lah' and Khairy's names so they'll fry whoever dares to fry Mr Fry-ra. This is funny, Bru. Never seen NSTP in such a comical situation there before.

  2. [rocky's note: SHAR101 left this in the previous column a minute ago.]

    Did you guyz know there is actually a Plagiario-O-meter(sic) to gauge/analyse plagiarists?


    *courtesy of bibliobibuli a.k.a. Mz Sharon Bakar. (I trust attribution protocol has been served. Everybody seems to be rather finicky on this tiny detail lately).

    Dang! The damn thing is even colour coded ala Homeland Security which seemingly 'borrowed/stole' the idea from the literari people.

    Go Google it, good people and especially you, Pujangga, since you're gathering 'intelligence' on BP's handiwork.

    No. BP's name is not there. Speaking of whom, has anybody noticed his name is variously spelt as brendan, brandan, brandon, branden, etc all over the blogs? Very soon, we'll be saying how we 'miss' what's his name again.

    P.S. Look for the small print, though.

    **Perfect weekend, folks. Smile when you see the parking sign everywhere you drive**

  3. Anonymous1:14 pm

    The NST suing the BBC? Have they considered the wider implications when this story snowballs across the globe?
    The central issue is still that the editor of a leading daily (with strong government links), in Malaysia, has plagiarized the work of another. Put another way it is can be considered as theft of Intellectual Property (IP).
    Doesn’t Malaysia already suffer from an International perception as a place where IP is not respected (or enforced)?
    Now, our government commenting on the drop in FDI’s, claimed that they are being more selective and moving up the value chain so to speak. Well key to those types of “knowledge” companies is protection of their IP’s. This concern (and others) was in fact just recently raised by an EU Commissioner on why Malaysia is losing its allure as an investment destination, and ironically reported in the….NST.

  4. Anonymous1:52 pm

    Kali boys and Pa' Lah comin'
    We're finally on our own..
    This Winter I hear 'em callin' many tanks in Putrajaya.
    (Can be sung to the tune of Ohio, Neil Young, Reprise Record)

  5. Anonymous1:57 pm

    Brother Rocky,

    Firstly, the reason why Brendan (plagiarist) Pereira's resignation takes effect only on Dec 31 is because he has no intention to leave. Once the Umno general assembly is over, he will assume some other position at NST and assume control of the paper.

    The announcement of his resignation as group editor is only a lame attempt by Kalimullah and NST to prevent Brendan Pereira from being hammered at the assemby.

    This was admitted by Hishamuddin Aun, the group editor in chief of NSTP who goes around using his position to secure fat contracts for his wife.

  6. Anonymous1:59 pm

    I am no lawyer but if the case is to go to court, BP would certainly be asked on his piece. Do they really want to put him in such a spot?

  7. Anonymous2:59 pm

    (Please note: This was posted earlier on the previous blog subject.)

    I don't know Kalimullah and Brendan Pereira personally but I think under the two, the NST has improved (compared to when it was run by the likes of Kadir Jasin and Kok Nanas.

    At least, there's some readable stuff in there ... there's some attempt to come up with some exclusive stuff, there are one or two columns which I enjoy (your readers don't have to agree with me) and the sports pages are, in my opinion (again, your readers are entitled to their own opinions), better than The Star's and the Sun's, which has nothing but stuff you get on the Net.

    There was no attempt after attempt to change masthead and revamp like what Kalli's and Pereira's predecessors did. The style is simple and unclustered, which is about the only thing the READER is bothered about (notice where the condemnations are mainly coming from? Journos and ex-journos ... not the ordinary READER).

    I try and read the NST, Star and Sun everyday since I'm retired and have time on my hands, and I find the standard of journalism in NST comparable with that in Star (Sun is old news except for Citizen Nades).

    NST may, in the opinion of journos and ex-journos, publish 'slanted' stories but don't you think some of the stories in Star are also 'slanted'and written in a way its 'masters' demand - like stories concerning MCA, BN and Nanyang? Are some of your readers criticising NST because they have some grudge to bear? I notice many started hitting out even before the so-called plagiarism incident.

    Concerning the so-called NST 'gag order', the full text of which was posted by 'Pujangga' on this blog, after reading it, I thought the 'order' only referred to the incident concerning BBC because of the possibility of a legal suit. I couldn't find the part about NST staffers being banned from discussing Mr Pereira elsewhere, say with their friends, other than discussing it publicily or speaking to the press, local or foreign, which is, in my opinion, a reasonable request considering the people concerned are EMPLOYEES of NST.)

    Having said that, Rocky, I still find some of your other blog subjects entertaining and an eye-opener. I hope to read more of those stuff.

    All the best!

  8. Anonymous4:45 pm

    I'm not media savvy, never having work in a media company before. But I have extended work experience in 3 countries; mostly, with a multinational who is the largest in its sector, a 6000 workforce manufacturing plant, and a financial services company which is more than 80 years old.

    I don’t know much about NST. I do get a copy deliver to my house every day but I don’t remember failing to skimp through it in less than 15 minutes. This is what I have been doing for the last 15 years whenever I’m in the country. It comes with no negative connotation, and you should not impute or infer any.

    What I think I know of NST, I got it mostly from blogs like this. My lasting impression is that NST lurches from one crisis to another; some of its own doing, others poured on them by both their masters and critics alike.

    My instinct is that NST did the right thing in gagging, if gagging is the right word choice, its staff. The alleged plagiarism is but one of the many fires they have to put out. I would have acted the same way; without doubt, nor hesitation.

    Why are we attacking NST’s decision from a choice perspective? If NST does not speak with one voice, what would the world think of the resulting cacophony? If we do not think this alleged “p” incident is a crisis, why the outrage?

    Moral indignation? I don’t think that’s likely.

    Jealousy with halo? Perhaps.

    What do we want out of this saga? More scalps perhaps?

    I hope not.

    Init.: Saturday, 04.11.06, 6:51:34 PM

    In reply to "'Retired' Anonymous"

    As a non jouno, I've only to add that there has been a marked deterioration in the quality of NST in the past 6 months.

    When it first became "tabloid" sized, I enthusiastically bought and read it - I recommended it to everyone over The Star, as it was actually more critical of government than the other papers.

    However in the last 3 months I have actually refrained from buying it. I now find NST's content rather self serving and hypocritical. I assure you no undue influences came from the blogs.

    For me the distaste started with Kali's (Sunday?) column where he just completely insulted TDM for allegedly calling him a "Indian God". I thought the tone and content was extremely "kurang ajar" especially when it was written by someone whose contribution to the country has amounted to nothing so far. TDM has numerous faults, but still Kali being a nothing should not write in that tone.

    It was almost from that time that the editorial quality declined. The writing became extremely difficult to read. Long unstructured sentences in long paragraphs - totally unreadable - I felt dyslexic.

    Then the Khairy ECM Libra issue started. I thought it was a farce.

    At this point I really felt that mainstream media was doing a cover up - especially with the Sun interviewing Kali and giving him a favorable farewell (from eCM) plus allowing him to insist on nothing wrong with giving the young man a leg-up in life!

    Have all the newspapers capitulated? I asked.

    It's hilarious. The description by the Sun, along these lines...

    Kali packing up his battered knapsack and walking off disappointed (he's a simple man?), of course neglecting to mention the chauffeured 7-series Bimmer he was heading towards.

    "'Retired' Anonymous" mentions the Star's MCA stance.

    That's true but most of the time it's silent and only reports the "facts" with no comments (chicken?).

    But the Star has its other charms - like a comprehensive what's going on in KL in terms of issue other than politics. The NST has nothing else going for it.

    "'Retired' Anonymous" mentions that journos and ex-journos are the only ones complaining about NST - that's true because they are the only ones that write for a living, the man on the street voted with his wallet - they simply stopped buying the NST!

    I hate Kali even more for removing my Sunday Mail comics ritual.

    This saga simply highlights that we don't have much of a future.

    We can all expect "spin" in the press. In the US it happens. The problem is that its done much more subtly there. We used to have to read between the lines as the spin was more subtle. Now its just crude.

    Perhaps its a sign of arrogance....

    Or stupidity? Now we have a real problem.

    Please don't take the following as an insult in any way, its just an example ....

    Hitler killed so many Jews because of silent acceptance (even by the good Germans within the army)
    Stalin killed many that oppressed him because of silent acceptance
    Mao did the same
    The current Bush does the same because the UN council silently accepts
    Are we to suffer the same fate within UMNO?
    Are we an Malaysians going to suffer the same fate?

    I can hardly wait for the next GE.

    Sorry for the rant.

  10. Anonymous8:57 pm

    rocky, sorry if this is too big a file for your blog but thought tis can make the point even the college kids know how serious a sin "ciplak" is. taken from perdana college's website.

    On Plagiarism

    Plagiarism is the presentation of the work of another author, in whole or in part, in such a way as to give one's reader reason to think it to be one's own, without giving proper credit by documenting sources. The College regards plagiarism is considered as an act of cheating or dishonesty and considers it as a serious academic fraud. It may lead to loss of result, credit, suspension or expulsion from the College.

    Acts of plagiarism includes,

    * word for word copying of sentences or paragraphs from one or more sources which are the work or data of other persons (including books, journals, theses, unpublished works, working papers, seminar and conference papers, internal reports, lecture notes);
    * using some one else's ideas, work or research data without due acknowledgment;
    * submitting work which has been produced by someone else on the student’s behalf as if it were the work of the student;
    * copying or submitting computer files in whole or in part without indicating their origin;
    * in the case of joint projects, falsely representing the individual contributions of the collaborating students where individual contributions are to be i

  11. Hi,

    That definition of plagiarism approximates what I remember it to be some 20 years ago at University. It's quite straight forward.

    The general rule was when in doubt just give credit either in the footnotes or in the bibliography.

    BP could have been slightly more creative - if he bothered - by making it tongue in cheek by referring to Mitch Albom.

    Was it arrogance or pure tidak-apa that led to the sloppiness?

    Me thinks that NST's management and by default UMNO does not understand the tide has changed.

    Thanks for reading.

  12. Anonymous6:24 am

    i apologise on behalf of nst and syed feisal for the pain caused by his directive. he is a small boy, pse forgive him.

  13. Anonymous11:05 am

    Nstman, we forgive you for the sins of.your fathers at nst. But pls don't condone plagiarism. Brendan has brought NST to unprecedented low with this ciplak stunt. You cannot defend this journalistic snatch thief, man. He deserves what's being thrown at him NST deserves better, I hope you get a crack at playing a bigger role there. You seem to bhave been a good ambasador for Nst on Rocky's blog, surely there's more you can do at the nst. But let's not defend plagiarim when you yrself don't do it.

  14. Anonymous11:27 am

    brendan the best?! ahaks!

    the best plagiarist in malaysian journalism, yes. the only group editor in this country that has ever committed this heinous act. the only and the best wordsnatcher.

    and since nst's ceo, the editorial bosses and the board of directors have made a formal stand that plagiarism is not plagiarism, this brendan guy may have left a big gift for all nst jounrnalists.

    because now, nst journalists can import whole paragraphs, word for word, from other columnists, including locals like wong choon wai from the star and zainon ahmad from the sun and p.gunasegaran from the edge and call them their own work! no need to sit in front of the computer and think so hard, no mental block. heck, no need for columnist, just cut and paste from published works and change the intro and the theme of the new column!

    as a syed, i am so damn pissed off with this syed feisal for defending plagiarism, glorifying the plagiarist, and trying to shut up plagiarist-hating journalists at nst from speaking up!

  15. Anonymous11:46 am

    [rocky's note: nstman sent this earlier, at 6:26am. the usual editing (changing an F to a D) can take hours! sorry bro.]

    you motherduckers up there, listen. have you not sinned. why are you crucifying brendan. tell me why. does that make you feel good.

  16. Anonymous1:14 pm

    I agree with you. it was stupid to take on BBC for reporting it? I mean, you can gag your staff all you like but I don't think it is a good idea to try and gag other media organisations. The threat to sue has become a signature NST response - it threatened to sue Straits Times Singapore en route sueing Matthias Cheng for RM50mil! What the NST should be doing is to threaten Rocky and Jeff Ooi for accusing Brendan of plagiarism. These bloggers are small and should be easier to scare. Otherwise, the CEO's defence of his "best" editor and his own definition of "plagiarism" will not hold water!

  17. Anonymous1:43 pm

    ...anyone noticed that Jonathan Kent actually changed his article to include the "comments from Brendan" only 12 hours after the first article....his first article made no mention of the fact that he contacted NSTP.....he does not even have the guts to make clear his "correction"...worried, Jonathan??

  18. Anonymous1:49 pm

    you MOTHERDUCKERS, if you feel so strongly about the nst, go over there and demonstrate. dont hide behind the cloak of anonymity. if you support brendan, show it by posting to rockybru, who is a decent human being compared to MOTHERDUCKER Jeff OOi.

  19. Anonymous6:13 pm

    Anon (1.43pm), the BBC did not make a "correction", it simply added Brendan P,s quotes. Meaning that even after Mr P had called him, Mr Kent stuck to his original piece, the exact intro, word for word, just like Mr P did Mitch Albom's column, word for word with add-ons here and there. Mr Kent has nothing to worry but Mr P should start looking for a new watering hole in Singapore because he aint getting no jobs in Malaysia after thisn unless it's to work for, or rather with, Kali, Khairy, Kamal or Khazanah.

  20. Bro,
    Everyone saw what was coming to Brendan P but nobody taught or warned him on how to use that 'P' word thinggy!Maybe he could have been saved if he had gone to fellow blogger 'ronanino' for advise. Great job ron !

  21. Anonymous8:48 pm

    Hey Rocky guess what, we used to be able to read your blog via proxy in the office. We still can, but now we can't open the comments! Very clever lah these NST bosses, blocking the comments. Too bad for them we'll just go on reading elsewhere...

  22. Anonymous8:50 pm

    since nst's ceo has made a formal stand that plagiarism is not plagiarism, and if we find that its not right, the ceo should resign as a gentleman and maybe apply for the ceo's post at sjer project. Syed Hamid could belp secure the job for him

  23. Anonymous9:37 pm

    Tomorrow will be one week from Brendan P's 'June 6' article. Let's see what he has for us in his column tomorrow...

  24. Anonymous11:24 am

    Hishamudin Aun's wife got fat contract?
    Kali own shares in investment company ECM Libra? So rich millionaire, why need to work hah?
    Brendan Pereira Pak Lah's top supporter?
    Zainudin Maideen a minister?
    Wow journalism is the road to riches...and I thought it was a poor profession

  25. Anonymous12:19 pm

    Anon (11.24)

    True journalists can never be rich. They lead a comfortable life yes. But not rich.

    The late Tan sri Leslie Hoffaman & Tan Sri Lee Siew Yee werent rich.

    Pak Samad, Pak Mazlan, Samad Said, Said Zahari, the late Dr Noordin Sopie and many others are the REAL journalists.

    They dont fight for position, status or for riches. Their aim in life is not to accumullate wealth but fight for what they believe in.

    These shameless people, Kali & gang, arent journalists. They are mercenary writers, that is if you could call them writers.

    Ok, they are just Mercenaries, "orang upahan".

    That is all they are!