Posted: 19 Nov 2013 02:16 AM PST
A board of inquiry is set up if ever there is a loss of government assets of a certain stipulated value, says former Kuala Lumpur CID chief, Mat Zain Ibrahim.
Referring to de facto Law Minister Nancy Shukri’s statement to Parliament yesterday on the Pulau Batu Puteh issue, Mat Zain said in that case, the country lost to Singapore sovereignty over an island that was rightfully Malaysia’s.
“Yet the government feels an inquiry is not necessary. Don’t the citizens have the right to know what caused our defeat? Don’t we have the right to know whether our failure was due to negligence, incompetence or corruption, which we may have been famous for?” he asked.
Describing Nancy’s reply yesterday as far from satisfactory, Mat Zain believes it would be a big mistake if the government believed the issue would die off by giving such an answer.
The minister, he felt, may not have sighted his statutory declaration that he sent to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, Chief Secretary to the government Ali Hamsa, and Solicitor-General Idrus Harun.
Nancy in reply to a question in Parliament said Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail had nothing to do with the fake evidence in the form of a photograph tendered to the International Court of Justice in the hearing of the Pulau Batu Puteh dispute with Singapore.
However, Mat Zain noted, Nancy did not deny that the controversial photograph was tendered in as evidence the course of the ICJ proceedings and that it was deliberated on by the panel of judges and entered in the notes of proceedings. .
“One thing is for certain: the concocted photograph did not fly to The Hague or sneak itself into the proceedings four days before the oral presentations without any of the Malaysian delegates knowing.”
“There must be someone who introduced the photograph. Senior members of the Malaysian delegation, including Gani (right), must have given the clearance or approval for the controversial photograph to be presented to the panel.”
Mat Zain said the team must have known, or have been fully aware, that the photograph would not stand the scrutiny and someone should bear the blame for bringing disrepute to the country in the international arena before the ICJ.
“That is the purpose for calling for a royal commission of inquiry into the Pulau Batu Puteh matter,” he said, adding that the rakyat have the right to know what had happened after the ICJ proceedings.
Posted: 18 Nov 2013 11:51 PM PST
The state of the media in Malaysia indicates that the nation is not as democratic as it is made out to be, said a university-based researcher.
This is because most of the "mainstream Malaysian news media… is actually more akin to a BN party organ", Nottingham University Media and Communications associate professor Tessa Houghton said.
"When the only media functioning as anything like professional news journalism organisations are in Mandarin or are online, it’s safe to say that something is seriously rotten in what aspires to be the best democracy in the world," she said.
Houghton was responding to arguments against her media monitoring findings conducted in the lead-up to and during the 13th general election.
In particular, she was responding to crticism that she had chosen not to monitor party organs such as PAS mouthpiece Harakah and PKR organ Suara Keadilan.
In her article posted on Sunday in the Australian National University portal, the New Mandala, Houghton said: "Party organs and news media perform different roles, and the former cannot substitute for the latter.
"News media should facilitate informed political participation and hopefully, understanding of (if not agreement with) our socio-political community; party organs are for the express purpose of party advocacy, and are intended to 'preach to the choir'."
Houghton, who teaches at Nottingham University’s Malaysian campus in Semenyih, also countered those who argued that the bias in print media was balanced by social media.
She argued that about 35 percent of Malaysians – mainly older, poorer and more rural groups – do not have access to the Internet and that this is reflective of the voting trends.
"These populations have and continue to consume primarily BN propaganda masquerading as news, whereas wealthier, younger, urban populations are constantly bombarded with and socialised into consuming a multitude of competing and critical perspectives," she said.
As for social media, Houghton warned that continued reliance on social-media mediated political debate would lead to "cyberbalkanisation" – further polarisation based on political support.
"The media are key to the democratic and electoral integrity of any political system …
"Malaysian citizens who relied on English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers and/or television as their media source during the GE13 campaign … were not provided with fair and accurate information with which to construct informed voting preferences."
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