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Has Abdullah become the new patron saint for “the truth that is not the truth”?
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Information Minister, Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin was among the Umno Ministers joining Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Prime Minister’s Hari Raya Open House at the Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.
When I shook hands with him, wishing him “Selamat Hari Raya”, I remarked that he has become the spokesman for “the truth that is not the truth”.
Zam knew I was referring to Friday’s Malaysiakini report “Zam to media: No need to tell PM the truth”:
Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin has told editors not to play up negative news because Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's pledge to "hear the truth" does not apply to the media.
Zainuddin said this during a one-hour
meeting on Wednesday at the RTM headquarters in Kuala Lumpur with the
country’s top editors.
information minister claimed that he assumed the new role under the
instructions of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Zainuddin did not deny the veracity of the Malaysiakini report. Zainuddin is inconsequential. What is important is whether Zainuddin was speaking the truth when he claimed that he was instructed by the Prime Minister to inform the media, four years after he had first declared that he wanted to “hear the truth”, Abdullah had not meant the media or the general public but was only referring to Barisan Nasional leaders and government officials.
Has Abdullah become the new patron saint for “the truth that is not the truth”? The Malaysian press and public deserve a direct answer from Abdullah and not through any mouthpiece.
If there is no denial or clarification from Abdullah in the next 24 hours, then we can only assume that Zainuddin was indeed speaking the truth when he spinned to media editors about “the truth that is not the truth”.
In such a case, Malaysians concerned about the latest “tightening of the screw” on the media as well as another reneging of Abdullah’s pledges of reform and greater government openness, accountability and trustworthiness must speak up loud and clear against another national retrogression on the occasion of the nation’s 50th Merdeka anniversary as well as fourth anniversary of Abdullah’s premiership at the end of the month.