Saturday, March 17, 2007

In Malaysia, editors get rapped on the phone

Fu Calling. Internal Security deputy minister Fu Ah Kiow has revealed that he sometimes makes calls to editors of the mainstream media* to reprimand them for highlighting "sensitive issues".
"As the deputy minister responsible in enforcing the Act, sometimes I've to call up to remind the media concerned when sensitive issues are published.
"While some accepted the reprimand, others feel I am a super media editor," he said when speaking at a "dinner-with-the-media" in Kuala Lumpur last night.

Is Fu bragging that he can call up editors and screw them up? And there are editors who will let themselves get screwed by a Deputy Minister?
Did someone say the media are freer and more independent after Pak Lah became Prime Minister?

* Mainstream media refer to newspapers that are owned directly or indirectly by political parties form the ruling coalition or those that enjoy a close rapport with the government. They include the Star, the dailies under the New Straits Times Press, the Sun, and the newspapers in the Utusan Melayu group.
And, by the way, as far as I can tell, there is no such post as "super media editor" in any newspaper. [Read here for the entire Bernama piece Balanced reporting can counter Internet influence]


  1. Anonymous4:44 pm

    Bro Rocky,

    Did someone say the media are freer and more independent after Pak Lah became Prime Minister?

    What a joke... Tat's why blogosphere is getting popular now. Just see your site meter, going more then a million. Bravo bro.


  2. Bro,

    either he is saying it as it is because that's the way it is... or he is saying it as it is without knowing that he is not supposed to be saying it.

    either way, we know that he has no qualms about interfering in the running of newspapers (in the mainstream media).

    What else is new, bro?

  3. Anonymous5:07 pm

    from bernama, ah kiow said: "the mainstream media must not waiver from giving the correct and accurate picture of an event or an incident to the people, he said."


    oh MY GAWD....hahhahahahahahha....


    can't stop laughing..tks for the comic relief bro :D

  4. Rocky!

    Never mind about this Fuck Ak Kiow or what ever his name is and his comment, your friend from SCTV has been suspended for his foray with Tengku Adnan your good friend! Shouldn't you be posting another one in support for this girl Nila, or are you now afraid to incur the wrath of this minister now that he is going to flag your NPC treasure hunt!?

  5. Why is it that I am not surprised? Under PaK Lah or under TDM the media was the same. You can report anything and everything as long as the rectum of those who pull the strings are not touched, otherwise its wiser that you report on some obscure ' belilah buah-buahan tempatan' campaign.

  6. Ron of Gerbang Ruhanie was like that when he was with Musa Hitam, calling editors! Rocky I think it is normal when you have the power eh! or is it!

  7. Anonymous6:39 pm

    The 'Level Four Boys' and Kali Al Mighty have been calling up mainstream media editors, for years now, almost too often.

    What stories to write, what angle to take, which photo to portray. Example, when PM first addressed the Parliament as the Prime Minister, he paused in his speech when he reached God's name. These people insisted that the papers highlighted that, to show the PM is "God fearing".

  8. Anonymous8:14 pm

    Suratkhabar, anda bebas bertulis dengan SYARAT. Anda bebas berketuk dengan SYARAT.

    When I read the news yesterday, I really felt very ironic. Yet, it was published in Bernama. \o/ Anda bebas bercakap dengan SYARAT.


  9. Anonymous9:12 pm

    Why target Fu when there are so many other individuals who do the same.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but The Malay Mail's The Mole was paid RM4million to shut up, while editors and even journalists get called up if the targetted parties are not happy with what is written.

    It is agreed reports ought not to be personal in nature, but silencing the press just to look good is not the right way. That's the main reason why people refer to blogs.


  10. Anonymous9:23 pm

    There was a Deputy Minister named Fu,
    Who regularly tell editors what to dance, say and do,
    When the calls are over,
    And the submissive editors no braver,
    In frustration they can all only yell "Fu.. You!!!".

  11. Pasquale,

    It is quite normal for press secretaries to call editors from the mainstream media. That is their job. They keep in touch with the editors on behalf of their ministers. The more senior the press secretary, or the more senior their bosses are in Cabinet, the greater the regard they get from the editors. For example, the former press sec of Pak Lah, Kamaruzaman, went on to become a Datuk. So is Fuad, who is Najib's press secretary.

    When Hashim (now Tan Sri), Zack (now Datuk) and Sufi (still Encik) were the press secretaries of Tun Dr M, then the prime minister, I used to receive calls from them as I was the editor of Business Times and then the Malay Mail. Usually the calls were to inform me of what their boss was up to or about a meeting between editors and the PM; sometimes - and these were few - they called to enquire about the stories we were carrying. These inquiries were made on behalf of their boss.

    No press secretary in the right mind, however, would try to tell an editor what to do, let alone "reprimand" him. There was only once when Sufi met me at Jalan Riong in 2003 and said that he was asked to tell me to "tone down" a report on Ong Ka Ting and the MCA's links with the triad (we carried a couple of stories on the issue, including on the front page of the Malay Mail that day).

    I thanked Sufi for the message but the next day we front-paged the follow-up to the story MCA-triad story. That earned me a face-to-face meeting with the PM, who was not happy that the Malay Mail had decided to highlight the story despite his "request to tone it down", the very next day.

    Dr M was, indeed, in a foul mood but, to his credit, he did not use his powerful position as the PM to "order" me to drop the stories on Ong Ka Ting, the MCA and the triad. In fact, he listened to my views and he explained to me why he was upset with the way we played up the story.

    We continued to report on the Ong Ka Ting-MCA-triad issue for the next few days although we did not front page any of the stories after that.

    Back to your point, Pasquale,

    Yes, Ruhanie or Ron of Gerbang Ruhanie would have made his calls for Tun Musa Hitam if he was a good press secretary. No issue there.

    The issue is, here is a deputy minister telling the world that he can fuck up an editor if he likes. He has the power to. He is the "enforcer" so he can force the editors to do what's good for them in order to enforce the Press laws. The issue is he is a deputy minister and he is saying he can call up Hishamuddin Aun or he might have called up Brenden Pereira or Kalimullah Hassan or Wong Chun Wai and reprimanded them whenever he felt like they required reprimanding.

    And the problem is, Fu seems to have no qualms about telling people that he can do so.

    A deputy minister, for your info, is not even entitled to a press secretary and perhaps that is why he has to make the calls himself.

    When I was editing the BT and MM, no minister and certainly no deputy minister ever called to reprimand me. We would usually meet formally to resolve issues or clarify matters.

  12. Rocky!

    Bravo good answer! My question is who is in charge in this country when a two-bit Chinese-Malaysian Deputy Minister (or any Malaysian Deputy Minister for that matter)can now free to open their gap without due consideration to other senior Ministers feeling! Kayveas and that Chinaman Minister what his name is shouting at each other in public why should we put up with this! Then there is this UMNO Deputy Youth Chief making statement like he was a Cabinet minister, Deputy Home Minister accused of being corrupt, and this how the preamble to this country's social strife in the past, chaos then boom! Like I am seeing one coming!

    P.S. Rocky!
    Can anyone tell me if it is true that Khairy Jamaluddin's late father had commited suicide, he was a diplomat having also served in Japan as Malaysian ambassador! If this is true do not hide this from the public. If indeed this is true we want to know since his son is "slated" to be the next Prime Minister of this great country and we want to know if genetically he is able and capable, because if it is true his father committed suicide it could also genetic and we want to know! There is no malice intended for this query!
    Previous Prime Ministers came from a good pedigree, including Abdullah Ahmad Badawi! I want to know the rakyat want to know!

  13. Anonymous10:00 pm

    Dear Bro,

    Do the mainstream newspapers in Malaysia report the truth stories without hiding? Do they really call a spade a spade?
    There must be a limit in publishing the stories which are sensitive such as offending the feeling of other races.
    The issue is "balance reporting?". it can offset the blogsphere influence? I dont think so.Most of the mainstream newspapers-excluding the Sun and left-wing newspapers- have played the important roles in disseminating the propaganda of the government with the ulterior motives.
    Believe me that one day in future, all editors or the upcoming editors have to attend the editing course organised by Fu Ah Kiow in which the goverment will give you proper guidelines in publishing the stories. Everybody has to follow the ministers' ass eventually. Only the apple polishers will kiss watever needs kissing!!
    We need blog to channel our ideas, to voice out the people's dissatisfactions that cant get place in the mainstreams.


  14. Anonymous10:22 pm

    I smiled whilst reading your reply above Rocky.

    I heard this before - in person!

  15. Freer Press??

    When was that.
    Disheartened to read the excerpt of Dato' Najib comment on increase ranking in corruption...basically denying the whole thing.

    We are on uncertain path as far as fighting corruption is concern.

    Congratulation to Rocky to the status of millionaire bloggers and
    'The Samurai Post' in Kickdefella.

  16. Anonymous11:51 pm


    Good reply to clarify it. I think the general perception is that Dr M + cabinet ministers had NSTP at the beck n call. But as you've explained, you ran the stories on OKT + MCA triad links - GOOD ON YOU but did u also run major stories on 'evil' UMNO politicians? Btw, that's a genuine enquiry as I can't really recall ;D

    pasquale: that's a cheap shot to bring up KJ's dad, even if it was true. i think you have to get RID of your friggin' feudal/genetic mindset...a lot of ppl from less than ideal families do very well on their own while some seemingly ok + normal families end up with f**ked up kids and even serial killers.

  17. Anonymous11:54 pm

    btw, you write really well. of course u would, u were a journalist and editor for so many years. but again the general slander on NSTP has influenced my perception.......why in the world did they replace u with FHM dude, although FHM dude is cool in his own right too :D ke ke ke...i think your blog has really given a chance for the real Rocky to show...btw, i am not singing praises in hope of anything....;P

  18. Uh-oh,
    They follow up with official letters from the mnistry to MSM to 'remind' them of Condition 11 of the Printing Press Act. Just read about it on Mkini.

    A veiled threat indeed.

  19. FAK's job as deputy minister of Internal Security is as constraining as the laws that provide for his ministry to function.

    His focus would therefore be confined to pre-determined parameters.

    The fourth estate, whether mainstream or alternative, cannot truly function as an information disseminating conduit under such stifling conditions if it is to serve it's purpose in a vibrant democracy.

    As Rocky has pointedly clarified, there is a special purpose for political press secretaries in coordinating press releases but FAK has distinctly shown himself as suppressing (as in his reprimanding of editors) the news rather than guiding it towards tranparency and accountability. Furthermore, what does ZM have to say for the Information Ministry?

    Writing, reading and/or discussions on 'sensitive issues' should never be considered taboo if we are to progress as a nation. If it takes the bloggers to break this negative mindset, let's do so with the matured awareness that exist within us.

    With broadband internet connectivity becoming more pervasive in our society, don't you think FAK's upshot at 'internet influence' is a veiled threat towards 'bloggers' in particular?

    In the realm of public opinion, "who dares, wins".

  20. Anonymous1:15 pm

    hhahaahhahah shar...hahhahah what initials...FAK...hahhahahahhahaha...

  21. To Freelunch 2020!

    I am talking about a man who might be the future Prime Minister, as I said before my query has no malice intended, and you may be genetically defect I don't care, but I do care about the genetic make-up of those who aspire to be a leader of 25 millions people in this country. Look at Hitler, Mussolini, George Bush, Howard (descendent of criminal)!. What if KJ's father had chronic depression and did take his life! And KJ has that genetic makeup and one day as a PM he also decided to do the same! This is my only worry! Well some one should at least tell me! And Freelunch 2020 when you speak or write English don't use American slang, you sound like a Moron!

  22. Shar101, allow me to borrow your FAK. This Internal Security thing is going out of hand. There is only one thing I do not condone in writing....blaspheming GOD. Others, I will write anything about them if they so much as endanger me and this country. If the PM is not out of bed yet unless FAK will do the opposite to continue to "do-do" (the act of tapping babies to sleep)him. I will throw water on the sleeping PM. If the Ministry of Internal Security has allowed criminals to "escape" from Sg. Rengam and if I have sufficient proof, I will go for the Min ister and Deputy Minister's hide. Like I said before, Mr. Fak, Taiping in general and Kamunting in particular is hometown to Zorro. You dont scare me easy. You just watch your step and your trap.

    But I agree with Mob1900, it is a veiled threat. Little Nappies on Donkeys do that to look tall.

  23. Anonymous3:19 pm

    thanks mr ah kow for confirming the suspicion that the press (ie mainstream papers) are not free as they have to kowtow to demi gods ( who holds the absolute truth) like you.
    once again, many thanks and goodbye to balanced reporting from mainstream papers.

  24. Anonymous3:32 pm

    Deputy Minister of Internal Security Datuk Fu Ah Kiow should be investigated along with his UMNO equivalent Datuk Johari for the alleged coruption that led to freeing of Emergency Ordinance Detainees, which so happened to be all chinese.

  25. Anonymous4:00 pm

    Fu said the media must practise balanced reporting unlike the Internet which had no specific guidelines.

    Fu is another out-of-date Minister who thinks that the media is only about print media. He is not aware, or rather, he refuses to acknowledge the existence of online media, which is fast taking over the print media

    Robert Cox of American Media Bloggers Association said: "Recent developments illustrate that many bloggers perform the same newsgathering functions as professional journalists, and thus require the same level of education, access and legal protection. It is necessary to spearhead a training and certification program that would ensure that bloggers understand and adhere to high legal and ethical standards."

    There're thousands of bloggers in Malaysia, including my 10-year-old bongsu. Of course, most of them are writing for fun and they've NO inkling what journalism is. My perception is that if one's blog reaches a daily audience of say, 10,000, he can't run away from the fact that he's an online journalist. As an online journalist he's subjected to the same code of ethics and libel laws that govern the print media.

  26. Fu A Kiow,

    ever heard of the New Media?
    Please do a bit of reading and updating.
    Bloggers form the New Media. Online writers etc.,..
    New.. Baru... Media Baru.
    And among bloggers are not only journalists, but doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers, homemakers, voluntary activists, social activists....a whole gamut of know, people cleverer than you.

  27. I'm probably a couple of days late on this...

    The demeanor of Fu, the other Fu in the same ministry (pun intended), Nazri, ZM, etc. indicate (at least to yours truly) that they're stuck in a paradigm that's fast fading with the pervasiveness of online citizen media. The paradigm that "(t)he(y) who control(s) the media, controls the universe" - or proportionate territories within it.

    It shows in the way they're dealing with it, showing their "might" whenever they get the opportunity.

    I am, however, a little concerned with the latest directive issued (as reported by Malaysiakini). It almost seems like a concerted attack on the blogosphere, and alternative news sources. In any case, the only conclusion I can make is that these ministers & deputies remain in heavy denial...