First and foremost, we would like to congratulate The Mole for being brave in publishing articles which are critical towards Barisan Nasional, its ministers, and especially towards the PM Najib Tun Razak.
Once in a while, The Mole has published this blog’s more stinging articles directed to the group stated above and we are gratified that there still exist credible media platforms which are not afraid to publish excoriating write-ups for the sake of exposing the weaknesses identified. Hopefully all this constructive criticisms will be taken into account to improve further on the back of a disastrous general election recently.
As we all know, the next general election is less than five years away and we have, as the rakyat, another five years to criticise, expose, analyse, judge and even guide the top leadership of this country from any missteps and wrong decisions made. Therefore, please brace yourselves. Politicians, especially the young ones who can’t stand the heat, please stay out from the kitchen. Similarly, the malay phrase for this is – if you are afraid of the waves, then don’t live near the seashore.
But all these criticisms will be written in another article although barely two months after the general elections, there are already a few dozens blunders made and are begging to be written about.
But today we are going to read is about a brief analysis on the recent movement of people in the media industry.
The big news for the past week is the exodus of Leslie Lau, his sister Joan Lau and their band of misfits from The Malaysian Insider to The Malay Mail.
There is a mystery on why the Malay Mail shareholders didn’t find it necessary to own the majority shares of Trinity Diligence Sdn Bhd, or employ Leslie Lau and Joan Lau right under their payroll. That would be safer, and more cost effective and have all the necessary procedures to discipline any wayward behaviour of editors. Because it doesn’t make sense for Malay Mail to outsource another company to manage an online media that uses The Malay Mail brand. If there are any negative news published in that online platform, it will have an impact on the reputation of Malay Mail as a company, not to Trinity Diligence.
How can they control the day to day operations and editorial direction?
Unless of course, Malay Mail directors and its shareholders are glutton for punishment and love firefighting activities where they had to mitigate any repercussions after a damage has been done.
And why would the contents of The Malay Mail paper are entirely different from its ‘outsourced’ online platform? Why would the owners of the brand ‘Malay Mail’ do it this way? Unless of course, there are different agendas (read: propaganda) planned for it. As we all know, there are different rules and laws applied between a newspaper and the online news platforms. Newspapers need to have their permits and licenses; online portals don’t.
Hence, online portals are freer to publish its contents without any parameters to adhere to.
And we all know where the loyalty of Leslie Lau lies with. He made no secret of it. As a very pro-Pakatan Rakyat editor with trails of articles lambasting Barisan Nasional and their leaders (although he is quite fond towards Pak Lah and very anti-Dr. Mahathir), his skewed and often biased writings can be searched easily in the Malaysian Insider.
There is no point to announce that the new Malay Mail online is independent and support neither Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat when history of his writings speaks for itself.
There in lies the bigger picture..
..that another pro-Pakatan Rakyat portal has been established – whether accidentally or by design, right under the nose of the owners of The Malay Mail who incidentally, have very close ties to the Najib administration. With this latest development, this oldest newspaper in Malaysia, will never be the same again.
Of course with the arrival of an editor and his team of journalists, the current chief editor of The Malay Mail has to make way for Leslie Lau. Terence Fernandez, allegedly made his way to fz.com as the result of this. A few of The Malay Mail editorial staff are already there. Terence is slightly less partisan than Leslie Lau in terms of his writings but it is not a difficult thing to say that his leanings is definitely towards Pakatan Rakyat. Therefore, fz.com gained another pro-Pakatan Rakyat senior editor to shape its direction.
Wither Barisan Nasional’s online news presence.
Speaking of which, we now move on to The Star.
The Star ‘s editorial stand is a puzzle to begin with. Eventhough the company belongs to MCA, it often act as DAP’s mouthpiece. They spray DAP’s propaganda in its pages and would even promote shamelessly the key figures in DAP party. A fact that is not lost on the blogger Helen Ang. She is well known in exposing’s The Star’s treacherous articles against MCA and Barisan Nasional.
Are the owners of The Star that stupid? Calvin Sankaran aptly described The Star – “I would compare The Star with a girl who is high maintenance who spends her rich boyfriend’s money freely and having a good time doing it while at the same time sleeping with her BF’s sworn enemy and making jokes about her BF.”
Why would the owners (read: MCA) let this happen?
We would surmise this through one of MCA’s local leader’s tweets a few days ago. Although Ti Lian Ker’s opinions are his own and may not necessarily reflect the MCA leadership, we can take his as a base perspective. Ti Lian Ker was responding to an article forwarded to him about The Star’s backstabbing nature. What we can deduce from the tweet interaction is the fact that The Star had chosen to engage the middle ground. Thus they want to portray themselves as giving more space to DAP leaders compared to BN leaders.
But when most of the news that are originally sourced for example, from Lim Guan Eng’s foul mouth or Hannah Yeoh’s anti-malay stance, there is nothing more to engage the middle ground. The Star, had erroneously believed that in order to gain more readers and be seen as independent, they are helping MCA garner more votes which, according to the recent general election, The Star had failed to do so.
In order to gain more votes for Barisan Nasional, what The Star should have done (this is where Wong Chun Wai had failed to do so) is whenever Lim Guan Eng or Lim Kit Siang give out anti-BN jibes in a press conference, the reporter should contact any BN leaders, get comment from them to rebut whatever the father-son had said in order to give it a more balanced story fit to be published. This is what we call ‘balanced and independent’.
You don’t let a story run by itself and imprinted in the readers’ mind for days on what the DAP leaders had said without even having the right of reply by a BN leader WITHIN the same news story. This happens everyday for the past few years. And if the middle ground read all these, do you think they will suddenly want to vote Barisan Nasional?
Even the editorial staff of The Star are blatantly supporting Pakatan Rakyat’s leaders through their twitter accounts. What kind of message do you want to give to Barisan Nasional voters? That it is okay to vote for Pakatan Rakyat?
When the mouthpiece of MCA is singing praises and letting DAP leaders hurling vitriol towards Barisan Nasional, why would voters vote for Barisan Nasional?
There is no more middle ground among The Star’s readers. Especially among the english speaking chinese. Majority of them have swung towards DAP. No thanks to The Star’s ‘middle ground engagement’.
MCA leaders must be high on drugs when they say that The Star should be given space to run its story. And for the purpose of comparing who gets the job done, Utusan Malaysia was successful in getting the malay votes. Umno’s increased seat is proof to that. How do they do it?
What has The Star done to help MCA getting the votes? It doesn’t matter if you receive millions of advertising money from The Star. We can’t believe MCA leaders are looking at things as immaterial as advertising money. Even till today, MCA are like headless chickens running around not knowing what to do when decisions in every Barisan Nasional state seemed not beneficial towards their community. Just swallow your pride and take the posts which were generously offered by Barisan Nasional top leadership.
How could you be the defender of your race if you do not want to be part of the decision making body? You want other people to take care of your fortunes? What happened in Melaka today is fine example when there is lack of participation in the state exco. When the chinese do not want to vote for Barisan Nasional, what do you expect to happen? It is not something by design. If you are not part of the process because you chose it that way, then do not come out crying foul over something that was decided when you weren’t there.
And it seems Wong Chun Wai’s number two – Wong Sai Wan has moved to The Malay Mail (the paper) to be in charge of ‘Special Projects’. We do not know yet what that entails but surely if The Malay Mail is moving towards what The Star is doing, then obviously we will get another version of a paper that is ‘attracting middle ground’.
If you you know something is not working, then stop doing it.
Ultimately, from the recent movement of people in the media, we can conclude that Barisan Nasional has been losing an english daily with the highest readership and it is also losing the battle in english speaking online portals. Being independent does not win you votes. Being smart is. And Barisan Nasional leaders and their friends who are owners of the media are definitely not smart. You have less than five years before you lose in the next general election. What are you going to do?