‘Don’t allow for a repeat of May 13′
By Teresa Kok | May 13, 2011
Free Malaysia Today
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of May 13 riots. It stands as a day of infamy, caused in part by misinformation to stoke the flames of discontent among the races being spread among the populace, leading to fear, anger and ultimately to destruction of property and deaths.
To ensure that this day does not repeat itself, the government must send a strong message that those guilty of spreading misinformation which divides multi-racial multi-religious Malaysia must stop or be made to stop.
Thus, I urge the government to take stern action against Utusan Malaysia for spreading its lies and misinformation with its utterly irresponsible and unconscionable reporting of its “Kristian agama rasmi?” frontpage story.
It is despicable that Utusan Malaysia, which is owned by Umno, published this made-up story based on the wild allegations of two pro-Umno bloggers who provided no evidence whatsoever, and yet Utusan has escaped unpunished by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also Umno vice president.
The letter of caution issued by Hishammuddin to Utusan Malaysia is a pathetic excuse for censure because it does not commensurate at all with the gravity of Utusan’s crime of publishing lies to pit the Muslim against the Christians in this country.
I remind Hishammuddin that the Home Ministry has a track record of taking far more severe action upon other publications who committed lesser wrongs and oversights, including:
In 2006, China Press was made to sack its two top editors after it wrongly identified the woman in the “nude squat” incident as a Chinese national.
In 2006, the Sarawak Tribune was suspended for publishing a disrespectful image of the Prophet Muhammad.
In 2006, Guang Ming evening edition too was suspended for two weeks for publishing the same image
In 2007, Makkal Osai was suspended for 1 month for publishing a disrespectful image of Jesus Christ.
In 2008, Sin Chew reporter Tan Hoon Cheng was detained under the Internal Security Act, not for any wrongdoing but for reporting the truth that Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail’s had described the Chinese as mere squatters in Malaysia.
Prevent May 13
In 2008, I too was a victim of Utusan Malaysia’s irresponsible journalism when it falsely reported that I had forbidden the call of the azan by a mosque in my Kinrara constituency, leading to my detention under the Internal Security Act.
In 2010, China Press chief editor Teoh Yang Koon was suspended for two weeks for misreporting Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan’s resignation.
Thus, Hishammuddin should not practice double standards in his handling of Utusan Malaysia whose repeated malicious reporting has gone far beyond the point of mere cautioning.
The right thing for Hishammuddin to do is revoke Utusan Malaysia’s publication license to send a strong message that such news-reporting is contemptible, unacceptable and totally incongruent with the 1Malaysia that the government claims to support.
If he does so, Malaysians can finally be free from the dangers of Utusan Malaysia’s malicious provocation.
Hishammuddin should then go one step further to have the editors of Utusan Malaysia sacked in his capacity as Umno vice president.
After all, Utusan Malaysia is owned by Umno. Hishammuddin has the opportunity, power and influence to do so.
Failing which, it will appear that the Barisan Nasional government is not sincere in not wanting to prevent May 13 from re-occuring, choosing instead to employ it as a bogeymen when convenient, to pit Malaysians against Malaysians, for their own political interests at the cost of our nation’s peace and security.
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