Shooting Star

English hard rock band, Bad Company, of the 70s playing one of their popular numbers, ‘Shooting Star’.

According to The Malaysian Insider, plan is afoot to further ‘domesticate’ Malaysia’s largest English-language daily, The Star, which, to me, is tantamount to ‘shooting’ the paper in a manner that is more vigorous and further damaging its credibility.

Ong Tee Keat, president of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), the owner of the daily, is said to be spearheading this editorial transformation, a move that was triggered off by perception of the powers-that-be regarding the newspaper’s editorial treatment of the Opposition.

It appears that certain ministers and senior civil servants, who have not been happy with the performance of the daily particularly since March 8, 2008, felt that The Star has not been behaving like a Barisan Nasional newspaper, as is expected of dailies that are owned by BN component parties or their allies.

Some people may argue that it is the prerogative of a newspaper owner to exert a certain degree of influence over its editorial policy. If that is true, then one would expect that the media industry to be opened to all and sundry so that there is an open competition among various groups that would represent a diversity of viewpoints to a large degree.

Of course, this would mean the irrelevance of the Printing Presses and Publications Act which, among other things, necessitates the licensing of the press. But would the ruling party have the political will to part with this ‘power’?

And this brings us to the fundamental question as to whether the ruling coalition seriously puts a very high premium on press freedom.

If anything, this case of The Star only reinforces the suspicion among many people that the ruling leadership’s professed readiness to listen to the people is mere bunkum. And this despite the electoral result of last year’s general election that reflects the people’s desire for more openness and accountability, among other things.

Furthermore, the recession, which is now at our doorstep, may not offer us much confidence that the ruling coalition would be receptive to the idea of a freer press at a time when the ruling politicians would be asked more pressing questions about the economy and the way money would be spent for the benefit of the people.


3 Responses to “Shooting Star”

  1. 1 Batu Ferringhi 3 January 2009 at 11:42 pm

    It was expected… only a matter of time when this new boss at MCA reign in The Star which was getting a wee bit ‘open’ and giving a ll bit more space to the opposition views. So much for press freedom. Soon, The Star will be like the New Shit Times, down the drain. The alternative media and the blogs will gain more prominence and more credible too. Biarkanlah diaorang bikin apa yg diaorang mau bikin, nasi pun sudah jadi bubok….

  2. 2 Horiibilis 4 January 2009 at 12:28 am

    Believe Malaysian Insider at your own peril…

  3. 3 romerz 4 January 2009 at 2:26 am

    Like you said Mustafa, it’s all nothing but bunkum.

    The need to pretend to be a democracy so as to attract FDI when in reality all they want is to be autocratic since they are incapable of reasoning with the growing group of enlightened Malaysians with higher expectations from our elected representatives.

    Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dayak and all the others are no different once they belong to the ruling class. For all the talk about working for the people, once they are in a position to do so, the $$$ sign creeps into their eyes!

    The much bandied about word ‘democracy’ is nothing more than a tool for these autocrats to justify their ‘pride’ of belonging to the democratic world.

    What a sham of a democracy!

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