Archive for August 22nd, 2008

Gus Dur in the eyes of Bernama?

A piece, titled ‘Who is Gus Dur to tell us what to do?’, was despatched by Bernama today.

Highly critical of the former Indonesian president, the article essentially aims at depicting the man as someone who is not worthy of trust, let alone adulation. In a sense, the subtext here is, Anwar Ibrahim — and by implication, PKR — is in ‘bad’ company.

But the piece itself begs a few questions.

First of all, this item, which lambasts Gus Dur who recently lends his support to Anwar Ibrahim and PKR, doesn’t look like a normal news report as it is more of an opinion piece, and yet there’s no by-line given to the writer.

Given that the writer’s identity is not made known, are we to assume that this piece represents the viewpoint held by Bernama as far as Gus Dur and Anwar Ibrahim are concerned?

If this is indeed the official position of Bernama as regards the above issue, doesn’t this mean that the ‘national’ news agency has indeed become partisan in matters of national import and politics?

Or does this mark a new approach in Bernama’s journalism, i.e. to be critical of all parties irrespective of their ideological bent?

At this juncture, it’d be interesting to see whether Bernama would give Gus Dur his right of reply, as should be the normal practice in professional journalism. 

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Official Cars

A recent Malaysiakini report (see below) serves as a useful guide particularly to political leaders regarding the use of government facilities in the run-up to elections.

Do not abuse gov’t machinery, Najib told
Rahmah Ghazali | Aug 21, 08 6:29pm
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today accused Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of abusing government machinery in the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign.He said this was particularly evident when Najib used an airplane provided by the Defence Ministry to fly Olympic silver medalist Lee Chong Wei into Permatang Pauh to receive a RM300,000 cheque.”I cannot understand why he (Najib) is using government machinery, for example sending Lee to the Butterworth air-force base.

“This is the most improper use of defence facilities for political purposes,” Lim said, adding that it was “quite clear” that Lee was manipulated into agreeing to receive the cheque in Permatang Pauh.lee chong wei najib cheque award permatang pauh by election 210808 07

The Bagan DAP parliamentarian also questioned why the prize-giving ceremony had to take place in Permatang Pauh when it would have been more convenient and cost efficient to have it in Kuala Lumpur.

“And I heard Lee is back in KL today. Why couldn’t he (Najib) have presented it here today? Why did he have to give it there?” Lim asked.

Don’t abuse government machinery

Lim stressed that government machinery should only be used for official, not political purposes.

“Why does he (Najib) use the air-force base when he goes campaigning? If he uses the international airport, then it is alright,” he said, adding that an air-force base should not be used for political functions.

Lim said he used his own private car when he went to Permatang Pauh to campaign.

“He (Najib) represents the government, I also represent the (Penang) government but when I go to Permatang Pauh to campaign, I use my private car rather than my official car,” said Lim.

“We have to draw the line between public purpose and private purpose. If we cannot make that decision, we are just encouraging money politics,” he said.