Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finally An Ombudsman For Media And Media Practitioners….

The proposed formation of a National Media Council has drawn both support and flak from media practitioners as well as critics. In light of the recent heavyweight lawsuits, most are not willing to go on paper to make their feelings known.

It’s a well known fact that two of Malaysia’s more famous netizens, Ahirudin Attan a.k.a Rocky and Jeff Ooi, Yang Berhormat since the March 8 General Elections, were brought to the civil courts in an attempt to silence their oft critical and revealing post on a main stream newspaper.

The proposed formation of the council comes in the wake of recent lawsuits taken by YB Seputeh, Teresa Kok. Though not attributed as the cause, it cannot be said that this is not the straw the broke the camel’s back.

For once too often, the media has been blamed for the ‘spins’ and half truths of many articles, coincidentally, most involving the Pakatan Political parties. In recent days, even the fore runner of Malaysia’s Web News Portal, Malaysiakini, have come into disrepute, publishing a purported DPM Najib Tun Razak’s manifesto for the Presidency of UMNO,

Malaysiakini’s Editor in charge of the day’s publishing has since tendered her resignation.

What then does the proposed council hold for the ordinary Ahmad, Raju and Ah Beng on the street?

For one, it will be deemed the one stop centre for complaints, sort of like an ombudsman.

But how far will media practitioners go to make this council work? Main stream media is already controlled by the Printing and Press Act, not to forget the Sedition Act, and probably a host of many other laws too. It will then be the place to go to where people can make complaints and take the media to task without having to fear the courts. Much like the BAR is to lawyers. Something like that. Here in Malaysia, Media practitioners since the March 8 Political Tsunami also includes the much loved 7 letter word, Bloggers. They certainly did their part in the urban political landscape, contributing to the history making change in the political scene of Malaysia.

But that is as far as it goes. In recent months, the once ‘apolitical’ group has turned on its head! Probably the trigger that brought these bloggers to the fore was the Ijok by election of 2007. Of the handful of bloggers that ‘covered’ the event, quite a few has turned ‘pro-reformasi!’ (Annuar Ibrahim’s KeAdilan Party formed in 1997 to fight for the overturn of his conviction on misuse of power amd sodomy charges coined the phrase reformasi in the late nineties, and his party KeAdilan, trounced in the 2004 elections underwent a change, eventually renaming itself Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR) Recent post by these bloggers have even gone as far as to insinuate that Altantuya was able to reach out to them through third party seance to tell her grim tale.

Never mind that the case is still in court, and never mind that the Police has actually cleared those mysteriously named in Statutory Declarations and testaments. These bloggers are hell bent that Najib and his wife are actually involved. All thanks to the expose of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, whose many accusations and articles remain that.

Amazingly none of his accusers have taken him to court, and perhaps this has fuelled the conspiracy subscribers that when there is smoke, there is fire.

However, many have failed to actually check the source. Most do not realize the extent of RPK’s ability to spin. From the pro Anwar Reformasi days, which saw him critical of then Prime Minister Mahathir to the post Anwar release days, which saw him in Mahathir’s group asking for help, in which it was reported that he offered his spinning abilities against Abdullah Badawi. Malaysians, it seems in their dire hope of the much longed for, change in government has gone the length to convince themselves that all that is printed on the internet is indeed the truth and nothing but that. Not even Police investigations and commission of Inquiry can tell them otherwise.

Perhaps, then if the proposed National Media Council actually did cover the blogosphere, then maybe, just maybe, these personal opinion maestros of the blogs might just succumb to authority. As it is, the likes of masked men, Cikgus, Cerpen writers, Political Aides, has-been-was-there bloggers will continue to mesmerize their readers with imagined fowls and miraged post men with their fairy tales!

This writer believes that these personal pages (otherwise known as Blogs) remain….oh so personal and should not be looked at as THE SOURCE for news.

Aye! I say YES to the NMC!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Malaysia Today Says..Therefore It Is..

Having read a lot of Malaysian Blogs lately, it comes as no surprise, when people start to think that sensational news printed in one of those popular blogs, Malaysia Today, are real facts. Really.
I say this because, what Malaysia Today prints, Malaysia Today does not have to proof. Really.
Take for example this posting here.

Let me digress a little. Rocky has been saying that Utusan Malaysia should not be sued, as freedom of Press means the freedom to write about issues in the spirit of journalism (Pardon me, Rocky, If I seemed to have misread your posting). And people started calling him names. Funny, though, cause not so long ago, I seem to remember him being the hailed the 'Captain of the Black Pearl'!

The point is this, the letter written by Kapt Dato Zahar Hashim is from his view as an Officer of the company bidding for the job, Mentari Services Sdn Bhd. What the letter did not mention was that the helicopters proposed by Mentari belonged to Kazan Helicopters, a Russian Company originally set up as a splinter of Russia's state-owned Rosoboronexport. Interestingly when Turkey bought helicopters from Kazan, it discovered that Kazan had no permits to deliver or overhaul military aircrafts and Kazan was also embroiled in allegations of corruption in their deals. Turkish Journalist, Lalle Sarii reported for Todays Zaman, a Turkish news site. Though the Russians are well known for their MIGs, the same cannot be said about their Helicopters. Although its hows that there are over 1940 helicopters used in Asia, majority of them were used in Korea. BUT this is not important. As these are only allegations and in retrospect, it was between Turkey and Russia.

But lets look at the hardware then. Illustrated here are the different hardware from Eurocopter and Kazan...shall I say Mentari-Kelowna.

OK, I am no Military expert, but lets just take a look at the two different choppers, and say if you were the Minister, which will you recommend?

Then let's take a look at reputation. Eurocopter is the direct result from Aerospatialle and Daimler Chrysler cooperation, two top names in Aviation, not to mention Aerospatialle's involvement in Rockets....but before you think I am 'selling' you Eurocopter, think again.
I am merely comparing both 'apples'. And lets look at Kazan, or should we look at Kelowna, or Mentari? Ok , unfair to even mention Kelowna or Mentari, lets say Kazan. Kazan's website was last updated in ..2007. Sorry, I tried extensively to get newer web documents, but no later than 2007 in Kazan's official website.

Then, lets look at choppers in service. Eurocopter wins handsdown. Howabout support services? Eurocopter has a regional office in Kuala Lumpur based out of Subang, and Kelowna (representing Kazan) based in Canada (Hamilton and Kelowna). Eurocopter is jointly owned and operated by a consortium of Aviation companies. Kelowna founded by two engineers.
Eurocopter develops, build and sells Helicopters. Kelowna services Helicopters. Kelowna's subsidiary operates a Canadian Government Military Service Contract.

Kapten Zahar raised the issue of saving RM1.4 Billion.
In a purchase like this, I am assuming that the Government would want something reliable and also reputable. Of course, its only an assumption, but I am only hazarding a guess, which can backfire. But did the good Kapten think at any time at all that he is peddling something outdated and inferior?

Since reading the letter, I have done a fair bit of armchair investigation. Coming across the Turkish 'Kazan' files only assured me that, if we needed to replace the helicopters, Eurocopter, will be my choice. But then again, this blogger is not an A list blogger, and certainly, this is only my opinion stemming from the letter which points that there were wrongdoing in the appointment of Eurocopter as the next vendor for rotary aircraft to the Malaysian Armed Forces.
In my humble opinion, choosing a Mercedes over a Cherry should not be questioned, if I am looking for a good machine with proven engineering record rather than a bargain from a representative!

Monday, October 13, 2008

What Makes The Pen Mightier Than The Sword

The phrase itself seems to trace back to the Bible, according to some, and yet others believe that Edward B Lytton is the one who coined the popular phrase in its current form, ' The Pen is mightier than the Sword'.

From the campaign trail in the US to the Blogsites of Kuala Lumpur, more and more people are resorting to the many different media available in order to find out about the topics and issues that are close to their heart. Whatmore, in Malaysia, with the recent arrest and detention of a popular Anti Government Blog Editor, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, internet users find no shortage of these materials.
It matters not that it looks like a piece of script from a Hollywood movie, but as long as it involves some high profile politician, and contents that sound suspicious, it can be the truth. Perhaps, this is unique only in Malaysia. Perhaps not. A highly placed Senior Management official of the Country's English Daily, long considered a confidant and 'press advisor' of the outgoing Prime Minister, was revealed to have tendered his resignation, perceived to be a 'clear out' before the transition of power takes effect in full. This official was thought to have used the daily to promote the Prime Minister and with his column, put paid to those against him! Such perception itself lends credence to these bloggers and postings.

Since the 12th General Election, more and more internet users are turning to online portals and popular 'So-Po' blogs have taken a life of their own. Bloggers it seems, are here to stay.
But that remains that. Bloggers also seem to have taken a role in public life. More and more internet users are turning to these bloggers, in hope of uncovering the truth. Civil liberties action groups look to these bloggers for events and vigils in support for those detained. Truth, they say is stranger than fiction. But how far does fiction go? And when will the conspiracy subscribers stop subscribing to these theories?

Apparently, short messaging system exchanges can give rise to abuse of power. If a reader is to believe the different exchanges between two cell phone numbers, thought to be that of Najib Tun Razak (The Deputy Prime Minister) and that of Shafee Abdullah ( lawyer to Razak Baginda, the murder accused) then surely there are a lot of others who must now stop sending sms's. It seems, according to the blog author, the exchanges amount to abuse of power and perhaps even, perversion of justice by the sender of the sms, thought to be the Deputy Prime Minister.

Which brings us back to the heading, that is. Is the pen really mightier than the sword?
Here are some questions for you to make up your own mind.
1.Do bloggers blog responsibly just because they identify themselves?
2.And with this identity, post stories and exchanges of sms to lead their readers to believe their point?
3.And does this writer who wants to put his point across that Bloggers remain bloggers, and that their writing remain that of their point of view, have that same right to inform his readers that these bloggers do not necessarily know the truth?
4.Does that mean that this writer is a 'spin doctor' just because he does not belief that all that is written is THE TRUTH?

Go figure...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Mooring of Moorthy

Its good to be back.
With the current events unfolding in the Peninsula just North of the land I used to make a living, I think it is a timely return, sort of a mooring.
Hence, the blogname, Moor-thing. Kind of like the mooring of Moorthy.
Friends who know me call me PJ.
And its great to be part of the team at Malaysia

Do read about it in the coming days, as we embark on a new journey, and hopefully
if you do like what you read, return and perhaps even advertise with Malaysia's latest on line portal!