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BG: Bernama Perpetrated Biggest Hoax in History of Malaysian Journalism?
By Lim Kit Siang
10/9/2001 11:15 pm Mon
DEMOCRATIC ACTION PARTY
by DAP National Chairman Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Sunday, 9th
Bernama must apologise or prove that it has not perpetrated the biggest
hoax in the history of Malaysian journalism with its international "scoop"
of the report on Malaysia by a phantom "influential American group", the
Washington-based American Defence Council
On Friday, Bername scored its second international "scoop" in three weeks,
when its office in Washington "obtained" an exclusive copy of a report on
Malaysia by "an influential American group", the American Defence Council,
entitled "Special Report for Foreign Policy LAs" alleged to have been
distributed to all aides of the United States Congressmen in Capitol Hill.
Does the "influential American group", the American Defence Council, exist
or is it a pure concoction/figment of the imagination and the second
international scoop by Bernama in three weeks the biggest hoax ever
perpetrated in the history of Malaysian journalism using a phantom
The journalistic honour, credibility and reputation of Bernama, national
and international, are at stake and Bernama must prove that it has not
perpetrated the biggest hoax in the history of Malaysian journalism using a
non-existent, phantom organisation.
It is significant and no coincidence that Bernama did not carry or advert
to my media statement yesterday, which pointed out that nobody in
Washington seems to have heard or known of the existence the American
Defence Council and that it does not even have a website, although Bernama
had described it as "an influential American group".
I said yesterday that an American lobby group which does not even maintain
a website cannot but be a very fringe outfit, and in this connection, I
should make a correction as I was being unfair as in the United States,
even the "very fringe outfits" also have their websites - which would
relegate the American Defence Council to the most remote outer fringes of
the "very fringe outfits" in the US if it is not a phantom organisation
Bernama should give Malaysians all the relevant details of the "influential
American group", its history, influence, galaxy of personalities and moving
lights, why it hailed the American Defence Council as "an influential
American group" or it should apologise to Malaysians for perpetrating the
biggest hoax in the history of Malaysian journalism.
If the American Defence Council is a phantom creature, Bernama should
reveal the true identity of the writer of the so-called "Special Report for
Foreign Policy LAs" on Malaysia.
Is the Bernama correspondent in Washington or some other Malaysian source
the author of this report which described Malaysia as "the most politically
and democratically stable nation in Asia" in spite of the country's
heterogeneous society and warned of the danger posed by PAS to the
Malaysian democracy and the "inseparable" hope and political future of
both countries "for the promotion and spread of peace, democracy and
tolerance throughout all of the Asian region" currently "endangered by the
growing threat to Malaysia's democratic institutions by religious
fundamentalists, militants and extremists"?
Lim Kit Siang
The New Straits Times, 08 Sept 01, p1:
Malaysia is "most politically, democratically stable in Asia"
KUALA LUMPUR, Fri. - An influential American group in a special
report to United States Congressman, has described Malaysia as
"most politically and democratically stable nation in Asia: in
spite of the country's heterogeneous society and warned of the
danger by PAS to Malaysian democracy.
"Its (Malaysia's) political future is inseperable from our
hope for the promotion and spread of peace, democracy and
tolerance throughout all of the Asian region," the
Washington-based American Defence Council said in its report
entitled "Special Report for Foreign Policy LAs". The report was
distributed to all aides of the US Congressmen in Capital Hill.
Calling itself an authorised programme of the American
Taxpayers Alliance, it said Malaysia lay squarely at the
significant trade routes that link the Middle East (West Asia)
and the Far East.
"All of this is endangered by the growing threat to
Malaysia's democracy by a religious fundamentalists, militants
and extremists," it said.
It said these groups shared a profound hostility to
Malaysia's inclusion of women and minorities in senior positions
of state responsibility as a longstanding policy of toleration
and embrace of the country's ethnic and social diversity.
The report called PAS "the best organised of the
reactionaries opposed to a modern state based on the politics of
tolerance, diversity and inclusion".
"This organisation's (PAS) publicly espoused chauvinism
toward women is equalled only by its apparent condescending and
patronising attitude with regard to non-Muslims in its political
ideology to create a theocratic state in Malaysia.
"This presents real challenges in a society whose 58 per
cent Malay-Muslim majority leaves approximately 42 per cent of
the population divided among the non-Muslim ethnic Chinese and
Indians who have rights as citizens," it said.
The group singled out remarks by Trengganu Mentri Besar and
PAS deputy president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang in an interview
with a "friendly reporter" as causing great concern among
non-Muslim and Muslim Malaysians wishing to see continuance of
the Malaysian democratic traditions and protection of the rights
of all Malaysians.
"Seemingly oblivious or singlemindedly ignoring the
multi-ethnic reality in Malaysia, the chief minister (Mentri
Besar), in the interview, reiterated PAS's intent to institute a
theocratic state in a region characterised by ethnic
deprivations, disputes, instability and political turmoil.
"While PAS supported the inclusion of gender equality in the
Malaysian Constitution recently, atelling demonstration of the
PAS' latent and uncompromising hardline and reactionary character
is Awang's (Abdul Hadi) response to the charge that his party
denies women their rights," it said.
The report said that Abdul Hadi had submitted in the June
interview that after 1980, the PAS leadership decided that there
should not be any more women candidates (to contest in
PAS leaders such as Abdul Hadi "seem wilfully blind and in
denial of the reality of women's contribution to the
social-econ9omic development of their family and the state.
"Hadi Awang and his colleagues also seem to ignore the
dynamics of democratic governance while at the same time
exploiting the democratic process on the issues of race and
religion for their narrow perspective and principles."
The group concluded by saying that the contest for
Malaysia's future was a choice between a forward-looking state
characterised by toleration, blessed by prosperity and devoted to
democracy on the one hand, or a theocratic regime helmed by a
group of clerics whose rule was grounded on their claim to know
God's will on temporal issues and managementn of state, their
consequent right to lay down the laws and to decide on the rights
and status of women and non-Muslim minorities.
"The signs of intolerance are there and proven in their acts
and intentions. These signs of similar intolerance towards
others are proven by events and its consequences in Iran and
Afghanistan in the last two decades.
"We ignore these ominious signs at out own peril,"it added -