Monday, July 08, 2019

In New Malaysia, another journalist is sued over a Berlin course

Jalan Tangsi, 090719: In 2017, the Human Resources Development Fund approved a training program in Berlin, Germany for some 50 Malaysian journalists. The international course was organised by an award-winning local training company called K-Pintar, a "leading human capital development solutions provider and is given the 5-star rating by the HRDF" (Pintar is Malay for bright, smart, genius; not sure what the K stands for, though).  
The National Press Club Malaysia was brought in at the very start of the program by K-Pintar, through their PR consultant Alice George, an old friend of journalists, to encourage participation by the media companies. Which the NPC did brilliantly and without asking for a single sen from K-Pintar or HRDF or the journalists.  
The NPC was given two seats for the Berlin course and it decided to send its exco members Veera Pandiyan, a veteran journalist with The Star and a former deputy president of the NPC, and Joan Santini of the up-and-coming Bernama News Channel, who is now the acting secretary of the NPC.  
Veera attended the Berlin course in September 2017 and Ms Santini went for the one in December of the same year.  
Veera, whose column Along the Watchtower is one of the longest-running by a journalist in The Star, has been accused of fraud by the HRDF. In its writ of summons and claim, the HRDF claimed that in December last year (a year after the last participants had returned from the Berlin course) it discovered that Veera had misled it by claiming that he was an Editor with the National Press Club. The HRDF further claimed that Veera had forged the signature of one Datuk Wong Chun Wai, who was supposed to be the NPC's Executive Director! 
Any NPC member could have told you that the National Press Club does not hire an editor,  or executive director. We have a President, who is not paid by the Club, and an exco, who are elected every two years. The President and his Exco serve the Club on voluntary basis. 
The case HRDF vs Veera Pandiyan, which will be interesting (to say without malice),  will be heard from tomorrow at the Magistrate Court in Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur.   

Read also:
NPC clarifies journalists training trips overseas  
HRDF sues man for Berlin course while claiming to be journalist
Man sued by HRDF shows letters on journalist status