(Sept 1): The Barisan Nasional-led (BN) government should start changing itself to win back the confidence of Malaysians instead of pushing journalists to "paint them in a good light", said a DAP lawmaker today.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua said that it is the role of journalists to report the facts and the truth and if anyone, BN or opposition, is painted in a bad light, the fault lied with the relevant parties and not the media.
"To solve the negative perception BN is suffering isn’t difficult, but it has to start with Umno-BN in their leaders ‘statements and government’s policies," he said in a statement today.
"It is not the role of journalists to 'help paint' BN in a good light. It is the role of the journalists to report the facts and the truths of events and activities. If the truth paints anyone in the bad light, regardless of whether it is the ruling party or the opposition, the fault lay with the relevant parties themselves, and not the journalists."
Yesterday, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged reporters covering the Puchong Umno division meeting to convince Chinese and Indians to vote BN in the 14th general election.
The deputy prime minister said the reporters' presence in the hall proved that Chinese and Indians did not hate the ruling coalition.
"Right now they are not convinced by us. They don't hate us that much. If you don't believe me, ask the reporters. They don't hate us. If they hate us, they wouldn't have come here, am I right?" Zahid said, gesturing towards the pressmen at the side of the hall.
Addressing the vernacular media, he said, "Please change the minds of the Chinese and Indian voters to vote for BN in the next general election."
The deputy prime minister had his priorities all wrong, Pua said, adding that the change must start from himself and Umno if BN was serious about winning back votes from the people, particularly the non-Malay community.
"For example, Malaysians can still remember in May last year when he called the Chinese 'ingrates'. Ahmad Zahid had remarked, 'It is the Malays and the Indians who help Chinese businessmen. And when they vote, they choose DAP. They are ungrateful'," the DAP national publicity secretary recalled.
"Or in September last year when he told Umno Segambut that 'Malays were paying the price of being kind to the minority races who were growing more arrogant'."
The DAP parliamentarian also noted that Zahid, upon becoming deputy prime minister in late July, had proposed shutting down vernacular schools in the country and prior to that, had suspended The Edge Weekly and The Edge Financial Daily publications, in his capacity as home minister.
"All the above comments only serve to alienate, insult and discriminate against non-Malays and why should he expect for the right thinking Malaysians to support Umno or BN?
"Given the above examples alone, how do you expect Malaysian journalists to 'help paint BN in a good light'? Unless Zahid Hamidi is literally asking them to lie in their profession," he added.
He said, to help restore the confidence of the rakyat in BN, Zahid could begin by taking firm measures to meet the demands of the Bersih 4 rally, which saw tens of thousands demonstrating to urge for a clean government and more.
Zahid, Pua said, could also insist that the special task force investigating the controversial 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the prime minister be reinstated.
"He can demand that the Interim Report (on 1MDB) prepared by the Auditor-General be made public in the interest of transparency and accountability. He must ensure that the Royal Malaysian Police to stop intimidating those who are or were investigating the above scandals via abusive arrests or threats.
"Finally, the home minister can lift the suspension of The Edge’s publications immediately, to assure all journalists that they can report the truth without fear or favour.
"If the deputy prime minister can carry out the above tasks and responsibilities, then I am certain that journalists’ reports of his actions will naturally 'help paint BN in a good light' to win back support of ordinary Malaysians," he added. – The Malaysian Insider