Defending the Lion City
by Terence Fernandez
theSun's investigative deputy editor
Read Terence Fernandez's Down2Earth column today on our nation's security (no links yet). He is convinced that Singapore is not the enemy, never was, and never will be. Our enemies walk among us, he insists. Musuh dalam selimut.
It's a good piece and it's an opinion that is hard to disagree with. But as one of the few Malaysian journalists who have covered a war from the war-front (Baghdad 2003), Terence has seen and felt war.
Just because it hasn't happened does not mean it's not ever going to happen.
But that's not the point of this posting. I read Terence's reference to the (old) Malay Mail and I would like to respond.
He writes:"And so there came a period during the 1990s and in the early days of the millennium when many of us were suspicious of (Singapore) - although many of us have relatives and friends staying on the island ...
The (old) Malay Mail even when to town with a front page fictional piece on how the republic would marshal an attack against us and take over Johor in under a day.
But now it appears that it is the same prophets of chaos and commotion who are now guilty of selling out our security which they have so vocally been campaigning to protect, by giving away the last bastion of our southern defence -Majidee Camp for profit."
I was the Editor of the (old) Malay Mail when that "war" article made the Page One. The article was based on Tim Huxley's book Defending the Lion City. The scene of the attack on Malaysia was not fiction, it was a "most likely scenario" as depicted by the so-called military expert, Huxley.
It was controversial, it was unimaginable, and it made a good front page read. As a Malaysian, I had to admit it made me a little mad, too
That story sparked quite a bit of debate, (read here). Huxley wrote to us but I can't remember what exactly. And, contrary to Terence's theory, the "war-mongers" in the Malaysian Government were not at all happy with the Malay Mail's story. The NST group editor and I were called in to explain (Terence is also quite experienced now in this department).
And as I told the very, very senior government official, The Malay Mail published the story because it was of interest to Malaysians.
After Terence's scoop (with Nadeswaran) last Friday on "Majidee Camp gone!", I have begun to wonder if the decision to move the "last bastion of nation's southern defence" (theSun's words, not mine) to Kluang was not influenced byHuxley's book.
Defending the Lion city
Tabloid Malay Mail report on Tim Huxley's book following Malaysian ministers' rejection of author's tipping easy victory for Singapore in a war.
Jan 14, 2003
click here to read.
Read Syed Hamid's Loose talk about war.
A related recent posting:-
How effective is our intelligence agencies today?