Yong Soo Heong, the Bernama Editor-in-Chief who faxed an apology Lim Guan Eng on Friday because the new Penang Chief Minister was not happy with the national news agency's reporting, said he wrote the apology "in good faith".
"I did not expect the letter to be made public," he told me. "But it's OK."
Yong said LGE called him on Thursday afternoon to say that the 3rd paragraph of a Bernama report widely carried by the mainstream media had made it seem as if he said something that he didn't.
[see the 3rd paras in The Star (Pak Lah warns Guan Eng) report and the one in BM carried by Utusan Malaysia (Amaran Kepada Guan Eng) on the same day. Yong said LGE insisted that the line ".. which was introduced in 1971 after the May 13, 1969, racial riots to eradicate poverty and restructure society.." should not have been inserted there because he never said it].
"I told him it's a factual backgrounder that we journalists always include to make something clearer to the reader. He insisted that it should not have been put there and that I owed him an apology. So I said OK, I'll apologize."
Which he did. Yong said it was the first time he had spoken to LGE. "He sounded, er, friendly, quite pleasant."
Yong's apology fax was reproduced in Screenshots, here.