Syed Ali to media: Do NOT cover Anwar’s statementsPosted: July 8, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 (Bernama) — Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek has been urged not to go ahead with the debate with Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim scheduled for July 15.
Cheras Umno division chief, Senator Syed Ali Al-Habshee, said Ahmad Shabery should not entertain Anwar and give him an opportunity to debate on various issues.
“What is the importance of the debate to the people and country?” he asked in a statement to Bernama here Monday.
Syed Ali questioned the Information Ministry’s action in giving the opportunity for Anwar to debate as it was irrational and not benefiting the Malays.
He also called on the mass media not to provide coverage for various statements made by Anwar.
“There is no use for the media to provide coverage for Anwar’s activities and statements as there are many other issues that should be given priority, especially the government’s agenda in looking after the people,” said the senator.
He also slammed the attitude of an English-language tabloid that he said had lately been providing wide coverage on issues related to Anwar and his party’s political agenda.
“I urge the Home Ministry to monitor the newspaper’s reports to determine if they are confusing the public with Anwar’s political games,” Syed Ali said.
Last week, Ahmad Shabery said he would go ahead with the debate with Anwar on the fuel price hike although various quarters had asked him not to.
Both men had confirmed their participation in the debate themed “Form the Government Today, Reduce the Oil Price Tomorrow”, organised by news portal ‘Agenda Daily’ and to be held at the Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka hall.
I seriously have no idea what is the matter with these UMNO men. Most of them anyway. Previously, it was Ali Rustam who said that RTM should not go live with this forum. Reason? RTM is state-owned. And now this.
I don’t see why these people seem so paranoid whenever anything has anything to do with Anwar. Or maybe I do see the reason why they are paranoid. It’s probably because they’re running scared. After all, paranoia is somewhat synonymous with scared, right? Scared of what, you ask? It’s anyone’s guess.
ANYWAY, this man today says that he doesn’t see the importance of this forum to the people and the country. That he can see no importance may be his ignorance. Let’s forgive him for that one.
Then he says that to even be giving the opportunity to Anwar to debate is “irrational and not benefiting the Malays”. My response: Why is it irrational? How is it irrational? And what has this got anything to do with the Malays? The debate we are talking about is on fuel price. FUEL PRICE! And besides, it’s between the Information Minister, and the de-facto Opposition leader. UMNO is not even IN the equation. Why talk about Malays as if Malays are the only ones involved?
And who says anything about it not benefiting anyone? This is a pre-arranged forum, debate, dialogue, whatever you want to call it. Anwar will have a list of what he wants to say, and so will Shabery Cheek. There is no better time for the government to tell the public exactly what they have in mind, why their hands are tied behind their backs, and come clean with the people. No better time at all.
That is, of course, provided that they DO come clean with us. But that remains to be seen.
So, strike one for Syed Ali.
For strike two, and this was an easy one, he called that the mass media NOT cover so much of what Anwar has to say. Why? Because according to Syed Ali, “there is no use”. His contention, as I read and understand it to be, is that there are other “more useful” things to report on, for example, what the government officials are doing and saying, all for the sake of us rakyat. And my guess is that this is one of them examples of when government officials have our interest at heart.
This reeks of biasness, one-sidedness, and complete disregard for level playing field. Nothing new, but only goes to reinforce the fact that he is paranoid. Of Anwar. Strike two.
Then he returns to criticising the Home Minister, one of his colleagues, urging him to “monitor the newspaper’s reports”. So this is censorship. And censor against what? Against anything that Anwar might have to say that could potentially “confuse the public”. Right…
As is similar to Ali Rustam’s case, he has just confirmed a fact we have all known of long ago. The media is controlled by the government. They cannot report or publish anything that the government will not allow. The government will “monitor” the kinds of reports, and will blackout those they deem “damaging to their image”, or “will confuse the public”.
And THIS, my friends, is strike three.