Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 16th January 2011:
NUJ President Hata Wahari first victim of the hypocrisy of Najib's 1Malaysia slogan in Malaysian media
National Union of Journalists (NUJ) President Hata Wahari is set to be the first victim of the hypocrisy of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan in the Malaysian media.
What is Hata’s crime?
For taking seriously Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan of building a Malaysian nation premised on the concepts of unity in diversity in multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, inclusiveness, social justice and values including the culture of excellence, integrity, wisdom and humility!
It was in this 1Malaysia spirit that Hata, shortly after being elected NUJ President last September, called on “all mainstream journalists, especially of Utusan Malaysia, New Straits Times, Berita Harian and The Star to return to their true function as deliverers of objective information to the public, and not as tools of propaganda for the government, or any political party or individual, for their personal gain."
Hata also noted that the drop in print media circulation figures also clearly proved that the people were "far too disgusted with what is served up by the newspapers, which not only fail to develop the mind, but are full of horrible propaganda".
Hata’s call as NUJ President was fully in keeping with Najib’s 1Malaysia concept.
The 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Roadmap launched by Najib in January last year identified “Promoting an all-inclusive 1Malaysia media” as one of the seven target groups to give meaning and life to the 1Malaysia concept, had admitted:
“However, when some of the reporting and writing becomes too ethno-centric or even takes on a more race-centred angle, it raises, rather than breaks down, barriers. Further, instead of providing constructive and valid criticism, some writers abuse the greater freedom of expression now available to use terms and express feelings that are racist or inflammatory in nature and tone.
“While censorship is antithetical to democracy, there is a need to introduce, instill and internalize a commitment to journalistic professionalism, a sense of responsibility and self-restraint, with sensitivity to the divergent views and feelings of the diverse communities in Malaysia.”
In the 18 months of Najib’s premiership, Utusan Malaysia had been the worst culprit among the Malaysia media most guilty of these anti-1Malaysia sins – “instead of providing constructive and valid criticism…abuse the greater freedom of expression now available to use terms and express feelings that are racist or inflammatory in nature and tone” with its daily staple of lies and falsehoods to stoke racial and religious illwill, tension and hatred directed against Pakatan Rakyat leaders.
When Hata made his call as NUJ President to the mainstream media “to return to their true function as deliverers of objective information to the public”, he was doing what Najib’s 1Malaysia had preached – a reminder to “journalistic professionalism, a sense of responsibility and self-restraint with sensitivity to the divergent views and feelings of the diverse communities in Malaysia”.
Although he is a Utusan Malaysia journalist, how can Hata be penalized by Utusan Malaysia for what he said as NUJ President - and fully in line with Najib’s 1Malaysia concept of promoting an all-inclusive 1Malaysia media?
What makes the whole disciplinary proceeding against Hata so outrageous is that Utusan Malaysia is the official newspaper of Umno.
Is Najib facing a revolt in Umno, especially in Utusan Malaysia, against his 1Malaysia slogan – or is this another example of the hollowness and hypocrisy of Najib’s 1Malaysia concept: of Najib preaching 1Malaysia flooding the country with the 1Malaysia logo while his subordinates, whether in government or UMNO do the exact opposite?
The Government has spent tens of millions of ringgit on initiatives like setting up labs to brainstorm the “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” concept.
Would the Ministers directly responsible for implementing the “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” concept, Tan Sri Dr.Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Idris Jala, intervene to ensure that Hata would not become the first victim of the 1Malaysia slogan?
Will any Cabinet Minister dare to raise this travesty of the 1Malaysia slogan, violation of press freedom and infringement of trade union rights in Cabinet next Wednesday?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor