I am amazed at the convoluted apologetics that Tadin Sahak's letter goes through in trying to justify Dr Mahathir Mohamad's racist rant against the NST's group editor, Brendan Pereira. It also shows the writer's mindset is very much steeped in Ketuanan Melayu and Islam.
Allow me to address his points:
- 'As of today, the Chinese and the Indians are very much in control of our English journalism and the media industry as a whole'. In the same letter he contradicts himself when he acknowledges that Umno owns the New Straits Times. We do not need to be reminded of Umno's control of the mainstream media through Berita Harian, Utusan Melayu, TV3, etc. I don't care if the editors of the NST are Martians or Venusians, let alone Malay, Indian or Chinese. All I want is for the NST to provide cutting edge, independent and critical journalism.
- 'On the other hand, when the Malaysian side of The Straits Times was Malaysian-ised during Tun Abdul Razak's time, the staff then were already either Singaporeans or Sri Lankans who couldn't be sacked just like that'. Horrors. Could it be because they (the old school) were actually good at their profession (god forbid)? We also know that the civil service, the armed forces, the police, the railways, the banks, the workers unions (need I go on?) today are now stacked with members of only one 'kulitfication' who cannot be sacked just like that.
- 'On top of that, Tan Sri Leslie Hoffman (a Jew) was allowed to continue as editor-in-chief and he was then succeeded by Tan Sri Lee Siew Yee." So what? It's obvious Tadin has a problem with any non-Malay person holding an editor's role. He forgets the NST (or The Straits Times as it was then known) had its roots in the colonial days (oops, I shall not mention the British or that might get his blood going further).
- 'But the Malay editors-in-chief, rightly or wrongly, had never tried to make the NST a Malay outfit'. Perhaps they were rightly more concerned with the integrity and independence of the institution they worked for.
- 'Anyway, with a Malay as editor-in-chief, it is expected that the NST would champion the Malay (Umno) cause while The Star the Chinese (MCA) cause. The NST is also expected to give prominence, if not fight for Islam and the Muslim world which we know The Star and The Sun would not do."
Don't the Berita Harian, Utusan Malaysia and Harakah champion the Malay and Muslim cause enough? You also need the NST to start sounding like them? Let's not forget that NST's circulation numbers were going into (almost) terminal decline during A Kadir Jasin's and Abdullah Ahmad's (the former Kok Lanas MP who espoused Ketuanan Melayu in his heyday) tenures as group editors ie, when the NST tried to mimic Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia.
It's losses were threatening the newspaper's very own financial survival. Only after their departure was the rot checked. In any case, it is exactly because of political ownership and meddling in the mainstream press that Malaysians seeking more independent journalism and had to look for foreign and online media sources.
We all know that Dr M's real frustration is because he is shut out of the mainstream media (which was ironically consolidated under the control of BN during his tenure) after he decided to go after the present administration's jugular. It is shameful, though not surprising, that he chose to highlight an editor's race as the issue. That's racism. Full stop.
That's always been his lowest common denominator. During the Asian financial crisis, he blamed the Jews via Soros. After all, as an outsider, he had to prove that he was more Malay than the Malays themselves.
If ever the NST goes back to its bad old habits as Tadin Sahak and Dr M would like, please cancel my subscription to the NST.