Saturday, November 05, 2011

Setting the record straight for Malaysia

The Letter to The Editor

The letter from our Consul-General in Perth to the editor of The West Australia is short by any standard but it has gone to great lengths to set the record straight for us. It crushed the bad hearts of people who wanted the tabloid's story about Najib Razak's daughter splashing A$60,000 (about RM200,000) at David Jones to be true or, even if its NOT true, to remain unchallenged. My friend Chegubard even went on to the extent of charging the newspaper of conspiring with Najib Razak (to manufacture the story, create unrest in the hearts and minds of Malaysians and then get the newspaper to say that it erred!), that this was all part of the PM's media strategies! Read Dikatakan mereka Najib bayar suratkhabar tu. Shameless.

To the rest of Malaysians, we want and we deserve the truth. Thanks to the Consul-General, we now know that The West Australian, the biggest newspaper in Perth, had made a blunder. A big blunder. If NST or the Star or TV3 or Utusan had made such schoolboy mistake, heads will roll and rightly so. As a journalist, I can't imagine how my fellow journalists at The West Australian had let go that story without checking their facts. I came home and one of the first things I did was to remind my fellow journo-bloggers at www.mole.my of the need to check and double check our facts.

Credit to the editors of The West Australian., they quickly ran a clarification as soon as they got the letter. We usually apologize for such clear, big blunders which is why some journalists have demanded that The West Australian issue an apology to Najib and the daughter. Read Nuraina Samad's We Got it Wrong and Barking Magpie's The West Australian must, unreservedly, apologize to Najib and family. Nuraina was part of the Malaysian media corp covering CHOGM and Pasquale also happened to be in Perth!

Bersih supporters and the Yellow Dog

I was in Perth covering the PM's visit for The Mole. You can call it an attempt by the portal to place itself in the same league as the big media. It was not a very successful attempt, I must say. For one, I did not manage to get accreditation from Wisma Putra, only a "V" tag issued by the organisers. Without the media pass, I did not have access to the media centre and had to be escorted at all times when in "secured" areas, eg the Pan Pacific where the PM and other Malaysian officials were staying. So I covered the Bersih protest at Forrester Place, where Wong Chin Huat had his five-minute fame painting the place yellow. He seemed surprised that I was not accredited, saying the government would surely be friendly towards me and The Mole. Chin Huat flew in and out just to be with the 30 men and women and a dog draped in our royal color for the show. Some of the yellow guys turned up at a barbecue with Najib at Burswood Park that Sunday afternoon; it was good that they mingled with the hundreds of others Malaysians.

Quiet protest against CHOGM
I met many Malaysians, including the Consul-General herself and the High Commissioner, Salman, who is based in Canberra. Hamidah Ashari, the Consul-General, has been described as "the best" by a Malaysian in Perth. There are 20,000 Malaysians there and many have lived 20, even 30 years, longer than any civil servant can be assigned to one place. I am not qualified to agree or disagree with the comment but her letter to The West Australian proves to me that she does what she's supposed to do and does it well.

The thing is, our ambassadors abroad generally suffer a crisis of image. Not totally their fault, as today they all walk in the shadows of yesterday's greats -- the Razali Ismails and Ahmad Kamils of the heyday of Malaysia's diplomacy. Often, stories told about Malaysia abroad are not corrected even when they are factually wrong or, perhaps, fabricated.

The West Australian will have their own lessons to learn but for us ordinary Malaysians, the simplest lesson is that we can and must tell them foreigners that they are wrong when they are wrong. Nobody is going to set the record straight for us but ourselves. For our diplomatic corp overseas, whatever your political affiliations, you have a job to do. It is not about protecting the PM or his daughter, it's about ensuring that the people there get the true picture of our country.

Malaysian kids enjoying Burswood park

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dude.. Kau malas nak register, macam mana nak dapat accreditation?

Anonymous said...

wow rocky
you sure will go very far in your career.

you know and understand which side of the bread to butter. and you kasi butter it until kilat kilat.
someone's daughter not ther, you devote few articles.

someone's son did not do, ZERO article.

i speculate you'll sure go very far away if pr take over federal in next pru

Perthy said...

Rocky,

The story about PM's daughter in Perth was another lie that the Pakatan folks were hoping to play up. Thank you for exposing them. If not, a lot of people would have regarded it as true, like they did in the case of the diamong ring lie.
Now more and more rakyat are aware of some politicians' dirty tactics.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be conspicuously quiet over your fellow journos lack of fact-checking in Utusan as well. Ah well, close one eye hoh ;)

Anonymous said...

Kilat jangan tak kilat.