Up To MCMC To Act Against Malaysiakini, Says Shabery
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) — Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said it is up the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to act against Internet news portal Malaysiakini, which published an e-mail supposedly linked to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s election manifesto for Umno’s polls.
“It is only appropriate if the MCMC, which is under the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, takes action against Malaysiakini since it concerns an online news portal,” he told reporters after presenting excellence service awards and farewell gifts to retiring staff of the ministry at Angkasapuri here tonight.
Shabery said this in response to the e-mail published by Malaysiakini, purportedly from a “Najib Support Group” containing a so called Najib’s manifesto for Umno elections to be held in March next year.
In the party’s ongoing nomination process, Najib remains the sole contender for the Umno presidency. The nomination process, where the 191 divisions in Umno pick their choice of candidates for top party posts, ends on Nov 9.
Malaysiakini, without any verification from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, had published the content of the e-mail.
“This is one of the abuses of cyberspace where people just simply pick up things without checking and publish as the gospel truth. But the damage done is rather obvious.
“It was clearly done with the intention of tarnishing a national leader. The action is very much regretted,” he said.
Shabery also said that if the new media continued to publish articles without prior verification of facts, it will somehow tarnish their credibility in the near future.
Today, Malaysiakini apologised for their oversight while the reporter responsible resigned over the mistake.
Najib accepts Malaysiakini apology
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak today accepted an apology from the Malaysiakini news portal for reporting that he had issued an Umno presidential campaign manifesto that had the country buzzing over its conservative slant.
“I am satisfied on the basis of the unreserved apology by the editors of Malaysiakini and satisfied that the journalist concerned has taken responsibility,” the deputy prime minister said at Parliament House here.
He added that the real issue was that “the real culprit who released it is still in hiding” but said that he would leave any investigation to the relevant authorities.
The New Straits Times today quoted Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor as saying the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) had started investigating the news portal, under sections 211 and 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Commission Act.
He said this followed a report lodged to the commission on the matter. However, he declined to reveal the origin of the report.
Malaysiakini published the report late Sunday quoting the manifesto, which among others, said Najib will defend Malay supremacy, set up a council of presidential advisers apart from denouncing a string of allegations against him and vowing to use all means to destroy elements that threaten the stability and peace of the country.
Journalist Wong Choon Mei, who wrote and uploaded the report, resigned yesterday to take responsibility for the matter.
Political observers see the e-mail as the latest sabotage effort against Najib, who is set to take over as Umno president next March.
Current incumbent Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi announced on Oct 8 that he would step down by March and pass the baton to his deputy Najib.
When quizzed on what appears to be a concerted attack on him as he gears up to take over the reins from the Prime Minister, Najib said that it looked as he would have to face “all sorts of things” until March.
“Obviously nobody likes to face such totally unfounded and baseless attacks,” the Finance Minister said and called on the public not to be duped by such attempts.
Arighty, let’s play a little game of chasing the red herring, shall we.
- An e-mail from a dubious ‘support group’ source containing an alleged NTR manifesto related to UMNO matters was sent to Mkini and it was published without further verification.
- NTR then claimed it was not from him and denied responsibility.
- The Mkini journalist who published the ‘false’ manifesto took personal responsibility have resigned whilst the media agency itself apologised unreservedly to NTR.
- And NTR have accepted it.
All’s well that ends well?
Not quite if we’re to consider the news reports that’s unfolding.
It is now up to the MCMC to take action on a report sent in about Mkini’s journalistic faux pas but the minister in charge of the MCMC refused to disclose who made the report.
So we now have two unknown factors to contend with i.e. the origin of the alleged manifesto and the identity of the person who filed the complaint on Mkini’s news report to the MCMC.
Despite NTR’s statement “the real culprit who released it is still in hiding”, don’t you find it strange that nobody has yet to file a police report to ascertain and locate the ‘real culprit’ responsible in forwarding the alleged manifesto?
Instead, we are confronted with ‘wounded pride’ press statements from [UMNO] ministers vilifying ‘unfounded and baseless’ attacks on a national leader which apparently exist in an unfettered cyberspace environment.
By his own admission, NTR acknowledged he will face underhanded efforts to sabotage his ascension to the premiership and it’s therefore par for the course that he gives as good as he gets.
Sidetracking from the real issues (or culprit) will indicate a perception of implicit collusion or worse, political subterfuge.
Speaking of which, can we then surmise that Utusan Malaysia’s publication of unverified news reports which had adversely affected an opposition minister should also get the ‘hands on’ attention the government agencies have accorded to NTR?
Whether it’s mainstream or new media, falsehood still wounds the innocent.