Tuesday, September 01, 2015

If BN wants to win back Malaysian votes, they should look at their own policies and statements, instead of blaming journalists

The Malay Mail Online reported yesterday that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged journalists from non-mainstream media to help paint Barisan Nasional (BN) in a good light, in the ruling coalition’s bid to reclaim the support of Chinese and Indian voters.

The Deputy Prime Minister got his priority completely wrong.  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 lays with the relevant parties themselves, and not the journalists.

If the Deputy Prime Minister is really sincere about winning back the votes from the rakyat, particularly from the non-Malay community, then the first step must start from himself and UMNO.

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”.

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.”

More recently, within 2 weeks after becoming the new Deputy Prime Minister, he suggested that the vernacular schools in the country which are protected by the Federal Constitution be shut down.

All the above comments only serve to alienate, insult and discriminate against non-Malays -- why should he expect right-thinking Malaysians to support UMNO or BN?

Worse, for those who published the truth, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi who is also the Home Minister, abused his discretionary powers to suspend the publications, such as The Edge and Financial Daily.

Given the above examples alone, how do you expect Malaysian journalists to “help paint BN in a good light”, unless Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi is literally asking them to lie in their profession?

I am certain that professional journalists out there will not stoop to the depths of Utusan Malaysia which has repeatedly published lies, as proven in court, in order to help paint the opposition in a bad light.

Solving 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.

For a start, the Deputy Prime Minister could turn himself into an instant hero, and restore some credibility to BN by taking firm measures to meet the demands of the 500, 000-strong Bersih4 rally.  Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi could insist that the original investigations by The Special Taskforce on 1MDB and the Prime Minister be reinstated.  He could demand that the Interim Report prepared by the Auditor-General be made public in the interest of transparency and accountability.  He could ensure that the Royal Malaysian Police stop intimidating those who are or were investigating the above scandals via abusive arrests or threats.

Finally, the Home Minister could lift the suspension of The Edge 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.

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