Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Star: Fair Coverage on PKFZ?

I've in recent months been moaning a bit about the coverage and the slant that has been taken by The Star. I know many tell me to just forget about reading the paper and that it's irrelevant. However, my "job" doesn't allow me to do that for I need to find out what 'the other side' has been saying, and there's no better way than to read the papers they own. What's more, I'm supposed to be the national publicity secretary of the party ;-)

Anyway, most of you out there would have read about the mother of all scandals, or what Lim Kit Siang has termed as "a pit of crocodiles" as opposed to just a "can of worms". RM12.5 billion bailout is required by Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ), and it's not surprising that the DAP has been at the forefront (since 2006) in raising this issue, while Barisan Nasional continued to keep a lid on it.

But with RM12.5 billion, it was really a pit of crocodiles which couldn't be contained and the mainstream and online media had a field day reporting the scandal.

But interestingly enough, I could barely find any reported comments by Lim Kit Siang, Charles Santiago or myself who have all spoken fairly extensively on the issue via multiple press conferences in The Star. In fact, if you only read The Star, you would have had the impression that DAP has had nothing but good things to say about the publication of the report!

On 29th May, the day after the PKFZ report was released, Kit Siang was quoted as follows:
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang welcomed the public release of the report and commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat for their efforts in publishing it. However, he had yet to read the full report on the PKFZ issue, he said yesterday afternoon.
If you have read his blog posts recently, Kit Siang has been relentless in pursuing full accountability for the project. Of course, he has been quoted extensively in all online and Chinese media. Even the NST had more coverage.  But absolutely nothing else in The Star.

Then we have our MP for Klang, Charles Santiago who had issued a statement entitled "PKFZ: Freeze the Accounts and Suspend those Involved" on 29th as well. It covered 7 major points of criticisms and questions filling probably 2 A4 pages. But guess how it was covered in The Star? They only took the very very first line of the statement in their report "Groups hail move by government to release PKFZ findings in entirety":
Selangor DAP vice-chairman Charles Santiago also welcomed the release of the report and its submission to the MACC.
That's bloody it! If that's not an attempt to mislead and give the wrong impression of what Charles delivered in his statement, I'm not sure what is.

We know that PKFZ is now Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat's baby. He's now the president of MCA which owns The Star. We know that this project isn't his baby and he wasn't involved in the shenanigans of the earlier years.

But we certainly have a right to demand accountability such that all those who were involved in the shenanigans be brought to book, charged in court and sent to jail if proven guilty, even if they were past presidents of his party or if it involves his colleagues in Barisan Nasional.

But it appears that the Transport Minister so fears his name tainted that The Star needs to ensure that opposition voices are not heard on this issue. For that matter, the DAP leaders are painted as if we unequivocally support Ong Tee Keat in this entire excercise. 

That, unfortunately, is such a disappointment, coming from a Minister who claims intent to pursue the interest of the rakyat to the very end, if if it were to cost him politically.


Anonymous said...


Please continue with the good job that you are doing, regardless of whether The Star publishes your comments or not.
Many of us also read your blog and other blogs, so we know where to find the true stories and not just rely on the non-fiction stuff that The Star churns out. We need more ppl like you, LKS, CS, TC.... :-)

amoker said...

MCA got no guts to come clean of PKFZ. THat is all. The star seemed to be following the thumb of its political master.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tony Pua,
For donkey's ears, the star has been the mouthpiece of the establishment, as are all the MSMs. THere is no credibility left in its reporting and that's why people have stopped buying the newspapers.
The editors will never authorize articles that report the truth. Sometimes, it is a wonder how any self respecting professionals can work in these sort of controlled and regulated environments.
We should instead, uncover the management structure and how the star is controlled by powers that deflect truth from the rakyat. It will be good to report the background on the senior management staff at the star and what are the reasons for they doing what they do. Perhaps then investors will understand that they are supporting a venture that goes again sound corporate governance and good biz ethics.
For too long, the shennanigans in this country have been covered and kept from view until they are able to "Cover the sky with one hand" (translated from Canto). We have to remove the hand(s) in order that the light of truth shine forth and set this nation free. It can begin by setting the newspapers free to report on the truth and not continue their spin.

Anonymous said...

Tony: Thanks for highlighting important issues. However, PR can do more. Over the past 3 decades, corruption and cover up had been huge. All members of the BN ruling party are just as guilty. What has it costs the average citizen of M'sia? From the first bail out of Bank Bumi sandal in the 1970s to the PKZ, the billions would have made each citizen of M'sia a millionaire. Do an article on that, and educate the public why change is necessary. This subject matter does not account for the inflated cost of goods and services due to the NEP or better yet, the "ali-baba" cultured developed since 1970.

Anonymous said...

Aiyah, The Star is MCA mouthpiece.

In Jan. 2009, OTK replaced long-serving Steven Tan (Ling's man) with his own kaki in the driving seat. The new man is currently implementing so-called "merit-based" staff system.

Spare a thought for The Star's editors/staff and their families - if they don't do what OTK wants them to do, their rice-bowl nanti pecah, loh.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all you have done for the betterment of Malaysian...

Pei Ling said...

The Star's news desk probably did it for OTK and gang "to see"...The editorial should realise by now (at least I hope they do) most of their readers cont' buying their paper only to read their sports/business/StarTwo sections...Nation? For flipping through purpose only.

Simon Seow said...

I prefer The Sun for juicier and more thorough report than The Star, especially Citizen Nades column. The Sun has been covering PFKZ since the beginning. I think they were the one the found the can of worms before it turned into crocodiles (since no one give a damn about what they wrote on it at that time).