Tun Dr Mahathir

The Malaysian Insider and its misreporting

Now this is something that some people will find trivial but I see it as a a danger that will jeopardise the reputation of online portals in Malaysia.

Back in February, Siti Nurhaliza launched her first talk show which featured Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as her first VIP guest.

During the Q & A session with the audience, Tun Mahathir was asked on what would he do if he was given the chance to become the prime minister once again.

From what I heard, Tun said that his priority would be to see Malaysia become a developed nation and that he would like to balance the disparity between races.

But the very next day, Malaysian Insider published an article with the heading:

If PM again, Dr M would prioritise racial equality

By Clara Chooi
February 12, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad placed racial equality as top on his list of priorities to develop the country if he were given a second shot at running the country as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir told songstress Datuk Siti Nurhaliza on the first episode of the latter’s new TV talk show “Siti” on Astro Ria tonight that despite having relinquished his job for over seven years now, he still had “many ideas” on how to improve development in Malaysia.

“I have many ideas that can help to develop the country, especially to achieve racial unity.

“But these plans can only be carried out by those in power… because I am not in power, all I can do is try to influence the present leaders,” he said.

The outspoken octogenarian explained that now that he was no longer in government, his only avenue to affect changes in the country was by speaking with present government leaders and writing in his blog chedet.co.cc.

“My wish if I were to be PM of this country again, which is unlikely, is to ensure that Malaysia achieves its objective to achieve developed nation status,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said this when responding to a question from a member of the audience who had asked the former prime minister what he would do if he were given the opportunity to run Malaysia again.

The country’s longest serving prime minister was the first guest on Siti’s maiden television programme.

This was a grave mistake by the reporter as Tun Mahathir did not even say the words ‘racial equality’. As the interview was in Bahasa Malaysia, my first thought was, the reporter did not understand Bahasa Malaysia that well.

Racial equality in Bahasa Malaysia would be ‘kesaksamaan antara kaum’. I was sure Malaysian Insider had it wrong with the heading.

In fact, if you look carefully at the article above, the term ‘racial equality’ was only stated in the headline, not in the article itself. It was only the spin put by Malaysian Insider. The closest words that were stated was ‘racial unity’. Even then, I swear I did not hear Tun said ‘perpaduan kaum’ in his statement.

True enough, judging by the amount of negative comments it received, the opposition aligned news portal has achieved its goal through a grave error in reporting.

For those who missed it, the ex premier gave his answer as seen in the video clip below:

What he actually said was “saya mempunyai banyak idea-idea yang boleh menolong membangunkan negara khususnya mengimbangkan kedudukan kaum-kaum di dalam negara kita….” [30 – 40 secs] and “jadi yang saya berniat kalau saya dah kembali jadi perdana menteri, yang tak mungkin, ialah untuk berusaha supaya negara kita dapat mencapai matlamat kita untuk menjadi sebuah negara maju…” [1.02 – 1.25 mins]

If we had taken a bit more time in counter checking with our national language, Tun did not mean racial equality. What he meant was correcting the imbalances between races. This had been his mantra since he started his political career. Everyone with enough salt would have known this. Is Malaysian Insider trying to put words in his mouth?

They did.

I even went to the extent of contacting the boss of Malaysian Insider the very same day the article appeared:

He then promised to check with the reporter about the mistake:

I appreciated his willingness to check and reiterated my point of contention:

After 24 hours went by, I tweeted him again asking for the outcome:

To which he replied no further action will be taken as the reporter’s note was accurate:

I then postulated that the reporter might mistranslated what the old man had said and furthermore, the heading is very much different from the body of the article!

@JSadiq then thanked me and will take note on my complaints. That was it. No corrections.

So what now?

It is proven that the reporter made an error while performing her duties. I believe negligence at this proportion which tarnished the image of the ex-premier was deliberate in order to gain negative feedback from the public.

What is disappointing is the editorial management of Malaysian Insider which derived its experience from News Straits Times and other reputable media chose to sit on this issue and do nothing to correct the article. Its level of investigation stopped only by looking at the reporter’s notes. Did anybody bother to look at the reruns of the show?

I was lucky a hardcore fan of Siti Nurhaliza sent me the link. If not, this matter would be swept under the carpet and an innocent person was unnecessarily lambasted for things he did not say.

As a reader of Malaysian Insider, I am aghast at this irresponsible editorial attitude. I thought with the amount of advertisements it gained from government linked companies , it would at least strive to be reputable and credible. Surely it does not strive to be just like its big brother, Malaysia Today.

I have a sliver of hope that it won’t.

Thank you.


31 thoughts on “The Malaysian Insider and its misreporting

  1. So, Dr M doesn’t believe in racial equality?

    It’s a small step from there to stating that some are more equal than others (George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”).

    I am sure that definitely was not the message that the good Doctor was trying to get across.

    Or did he shoot from the hip and not really think about the implications of what he said?


    • Welcome Skilgannon…

      Like the rest of ill minded fellows, your comment is misguided. Whether he believe or not believe in racial equality, that was not the question he was asked. His priority was to transform the country into a developed state and correcting the disparity. Because of your own paranoia of things he did not say, you quoted Animal Farm.

      And yes that was not the message he was trying to get across. So… what is the purpose of this particular comment of yours then?

      Yes, we know you hate him. But please stick to the gist of my article. Which is, the reporter misreported a straightforward interview. Don’t let your imaginations run wild mate.

      Thank you.


      • This fellow not only hates Tun Dr Mahathir. He has not a good word for any Malaysian leader, nor for Malaysia, for that matter.

        In Big Dog and elsewhere, he comes out only to gloat on what to him is the “greatness” of Lee Kuan Yew and of Singapore. That may not be consequential but for his putting down DS Najib and Malaysia. Prompting participants to say he comes in mainly to lick Lee Kuan Yew’s balls endlessly here, there and elsewhere.

        Good of you to thrash him down in your usual decent but rather stinging way.


  2. JMD,

    One way to try and get them to cease misreporting and misrepresenting with impunity is to boycott them. Stop reading them. The facts that they may report on are published elsewhere, so we don’t really miss anything not reading them. I cease doing so when they did not publish my comments contradicting the views expressed there, submitted on 2 different occasions. Others have complained the same.

    It may even be dangerous reading them as they design the slanting of news, or the “tweaking” of headlines to promote their objective of putting people down, of placing personalities and the Establishment in bad light. Dangerous in that readers may get an overall warped and demented view of the subject matter as presented by them.

    In this instance, the writer may not be at fault. It’s the editorial or Admin staff who may be the ones writing the news title that contained the words “racial equality” that TDM didn’t use and that the mischievous MI bloke(s) added on to further their interest in a crooked manner.

    Last I checked, the bossman of MI was an ex-Reuters man. Reuters, the long-established British news organisation, has been in the business of gathering information, overt and what may be deemed covert as well. The overt, with news value, will be sent out in the news wires to their clients and British Government organisations. I won’t be surprised that when they come across information unheard by or inaccessible to others, it’ll go in the confidential files meant for their Intelligence Service.

    It is said that such intelligence organisations like CIA and the Russian KGB (now a new name), also engage in the business of misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, apart from the commonly known James Bond Agent 007 kind of clandestine and espionage activities. They are designed to confuse, mislead or incite the target audience when and where necessary. If so, I wonder if the ex-Reuters bossman had such experience and was recruited on that account. If so, the planting of those two words in the heading of the report may be his doing. It certainly is his responsibility.

    Responding to you the way they did is a deplorable act done with impunity. They deserve to be boycotted.

    JMD : Thank you for the comment Razu.


      • I support boycotting them. Both FB and the main MI site. They may have a lot of money, big financiers and all. A few adverts running away may not cause a dent. But let’s do it all the same. Let’s get a few advertisers pull out as a result of decreasing hits.
        And make the MI people think a bit.

        They are getting a lot of audience from among the nons. Very difficult to get long term harmony and unity because they slant their reporting, articles and commenting to the disfavour of the Establishment (which is perceived as representing the Malays) and to the favour of the opposition. Many among the readers are simple housewives who have the time to read and talk among themselves. And they talk in slanted ways, too, because of the bad influence.

        The MI bias is damaging efforts to reduce racial polarization and bring about greater unity. Imagine, they misreport, slant, twist and spin information, statements and events. Yes, let us boycott Malaysian Insider.


  3. Salam JMD

    First of all, I would like to note this:

    1. That the word “equality” can be interpreted in different ways and from different perspective.
    2. That I understand the angle and context of which you have made the compliant to Malaysian Insider about that “equality”use and of which I completely agree.
    3. That I reckon the use of “equality” in the Malaysian Insider reporting is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public

    My comment:

    If you “google” this word “equality”you would find a lot of debate and discussion on its interpretation. Some liken it to fairness and some interpret it only to the aspect of opportunity which means that equality in the context of outcome is not necessarily achieved.

    Whatever it is, I can certainly say for sure that “equality” as understood by most of the Ultra Kiasu NONS in Malaysia is not the “equality” as defined from mathematical perspective.

    I am sure most of us learn about the concept of “weighted value” whereby the true value of a “premises” does not solely depend on its shear numbers alone. Other parameters might contribute to its true value.

    My line of work requires me to do a lot of risk engineering of which often requires me to apply this mathematical concept of weighted value. Using this concept, we can clearly see that a hazardous processing plant say having a potential of emitting a 20 kW/m2 radiation in a highly populated area (e.g. city) does not have an EQUAL level of risk in comparison to a similar plant having a potential to emit the same 20 kW/m2 of radiation located in the low populated area (e.g. country side). In other words, those two scenarios are not in “equality” although the “equal”value of 20 kW/m2 often mislead the authority that I used to deal with without them looking in the overall context.

    Similarly with respect to the education/economic etc opportunity. It cannot be said that mathematically we are doing “racial equality” if we give say a quota of 50/50 to the NONS and the BUMIPUTRA when the BUMI comprise more than 60% of the overall population while the NONS merely constitute 40% of the overall population.

    Therefore, I have always criticize those NONS who keep on shouting and harping on the issues of EQUALITY as being “mathematically incorrect” and/or if not even worse “mathematically illiterate.”


  4. I have no problem publishing an apology when I or my reporters get it wrong. It’s part of journalism. Daily deadlines ensure that mistakes will happen no matter how careful you are, and saying sorry asap is a show of goodwill on the part of the editor/publication, our way of saying, “We didn’t mean any malice”. It is an important gesture to keep a healthy relationship between the publication and its readers.

    Even on my blog, I won’t hesitate to admit a mistake when someone points it out. Or say sorry and run a correction when someone is hurt by that mistake. It’s become second nature.

    I am sure Jahabar Saddiq will thank you for this article, JMD, and take another look at the reporter’s notes.

    p.s. Skillgannon, dah baca Mahathir’s memoirs? It makes an extraordinary read. Still, I have spotted several mistakes in the book and I am sure the publisher will run the necessary corrections in the new edition and when the book is translated into other languages.


    • Thank you for the comment. As a non editorial layman like myself, i am thankful for knowing that there are avenues to straigthen any misjudgment within the publication platform. I hope all online portals will try to heed on proper journalism ethics in maintaining their credibility.


    • “We didn’t mean any malice” –

      The question is does Malaysian Insider, overall, mean any good to the Establishment, or only malice for the good of their financiers.

      Surely rockybru knows their leanings and the kind of materials – reports, comments and opinion pieces – printed there. And the fact that views non-conforming to theirs are not published (been said quite a number of times) and the nasty comments get away unrebutted tells the kind of fellows they are.

      And now they even say TDM said wanting racial equality, when it was not what he said. When pointed to it by JMD, they somewhat arrogantly said, checked with the reporter, no correction necessary. Having said that, they are not likely to want to check with the TV recording, are they?

      Now one way to resolve this intransigence is to get hold of the TV tape. Send the reporter to a Sekolah Kebangsaan to learn BM or get her hearing aids.

      I support the view that blogs like them should be boycotted. Just go in once in a while to check the nonsense they may be up to and do some bashing.


  5. Salam JMD,

    You just knew this of TMI! Can’t be. It’s nothing new.

    Not piggy back rides but here’s some more chicanery going on.

    and just yesterday
    I have the screenshot of my comment which was published then taken off.


    JMD : Your comment got taken off? Why la you give naughty comments???!! :p


    • Salam JMD,

      Have not been well with a bad sinus and the screenshot is in my laptop. Will upload the screenshot of my comment, a simple rebuttal of Mr Jalleh’s blah blah. Can’t see it being naughty! Just shows their crediblity or lack of.

      If you see any further misreporting check out and follow the reporter. You’d probably find another slanted report by the same reporter.

      I have a more appropriate name for TMI, The Malaysian Insidious.

      The Malaysian Insidious by and large has a wide opposition following. Reporting (or misreporting) and articles that has an strong opposition flavor attracts a higher readership and comment value.

      Attempt any comments pro BN, Govt, Tun MM or UMNO et al (Pro UMNO is hated the most in the comment section) on TMI and be prepared for acrimonious responses.

      Its just a suspicion but I believe the TMI moderators have somehow tagged me and my comments for closer scrutiny. So far its been more than a suspicion.

      By the way Isa is right. That Skilly fellow is a troll and a Sinkie lover, adores Uncle Harry ‘old fart’ Lee.

      Warmest regards and best wishes for the 2nd Braga leg


  6. Salam Bro JMD. “Racial equality” in Malay is “kesamarataan kaum”. “Kesaksamaan kaum” in English is “racial equity”.

    JMD : I stand corrected. Thank you.


  7. JMD,

    You cant be that thick right? Or can you….Tell me, what happens once you remove an imbalance? Come now..think, try..I know you dont do it very often..but just try and you will realize that in the absence of imbalance, you derive equality.

    Secondly and more importantly, your misguided rant against equality shows you for the racist that you and your ilk are. Keep it up.

    JMD : Sadly Fed, your comment is of the same nature as Skilgannon above. I did not say anything about fighting against equality. I was pointing out the misreporting. Keep up the stupidity Fed. Thank you.


  8. JMD,

    Misreporting fresh from the oven..

    “Saiful ran to Rosmah after alleged sodomy, says cop”..By Boo Su-Lyn March 11, 2011 The Malaysian Insidious Last Update: 11:54am

    KUALA LUMPUR Mar 11-Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan had complained to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor after being allegedly sodomised by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in June 2008, a policeman testified at the High Court here today.

    Enuff said.


  9. now this is the hottest issue

    they’re saying Rosmah has the audacity to say that Japan and other countries develop too fast and too rampantly without assessing their environmental surrounding thus leading to catastrophe. and that Japan should take this as a lesson. if you’d just listen to the part she actually speaks, not the part where the commentator insinuated what she speaks, it’s totally different.

    i’m no big fan of the lady, but damn, this is like fitnah lah.


  10. it seems that both the editorial and the reporting part of most media nowadays are moving towards sensational type of header/news. They tend not to report what they hear, but rather what they think, twisting and manipulating the words along the way. Selective excerpts of the original context, undermining the whole story. Just like the case of the photo of the policeman standing by the roadside at the scene of the thousands of coins accident on the highway. Didn’t tell the whole story but the readers will tend to judge by that single photo.
    Malaysian Insider is manned and read by a whole lot of opposition supporters, reading by the comments and their tendency of bias in reporting. They even delete or disapprove whatever comments which are not inline with their thinking. Sometimes reading the comments section makes me think and wonder… wow, are Malaysians really opposing everything that the govt is doing?


  11. “My wish if I were to be PM of this country again, which is unlikely, is to ensure that Malaysia achieves its objective to achieve developed nation status,”

    You mean, all this while when he was a PM, he did not help to make sure Malaysia achieves its objective to be a developed nation status?? Then, what was he doing? ^^ lol


    • Developed nation status to be achieved by 2020. Help needed not just from Tun Mahathir, but from all citizens of Malaysia. Even little kids understood his statement. Thank you


    • Hello my friend, do you know anything about Silat Seru..a form of silat where the students would meditate and call on the spirits of former great Malay warriors. Jebat was among the most popular gurus to be called up and he often obliged. I had been a witness to a session of this Silat Seru and when Jebat appeared, speaking from the body of the student leader of the night, he sounded damn fierce. He spoke the old form of istana Malay and he blew his top when one of the students dared to ask ask him about Tuah. No chinaman could have spoken Malay like he did that night. And if he was Chinese, he would have uttered: Tuna Seng! when one of the silat students annoyed him that night. The five Malacca warriors were definitely Malay because their silat moves were unlike any kungfu moves I have seen. If you don’t believe me, I can take you to meet ‘Jebat’ one of these days, or rather…nights.


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