I have always tried very hard to believe that the leaders of Malaysia are indeed a wise lot. But in recent years, it has become more and more apparent that they might not be so wise after all.
They shoot themselves in their foot almost every time they say something. Obviously these leaders say these things because they want to see themselves quoted and maybe even see their pictures in the papers. After all, they know elections are coming and how else do you get the prime minister to notice their existence?
Now if we as ordinary newsreaders can see these leaders shoot themselves in the foot every time, surely the journalists and editors of any publication can too, be it the government-licenced mainstream media or the cyberspace ones like Malaysiakini. Sure, Malaysiakini wants to get the news out first and probably looks for factual accuracies and maybe a tape or video recording of the statement made as evidence, just in case.
However, the mainstream papers have the benefit of at least a few hours before anything is finalised for publication. They can, should they see that the minister has shot himself in the foot, very cleverly omit or edit it so that the leader looks good. But then again, maybe they too get tired sometimes, especially when too many leaders shoot themselves in the foot at the same time.
I am referring to the statement by Deputy Internal Security Minister Mohd Johari Baharom as reported in the article Hindraf 'manipulated' the innocent.
He is quoted as saying the following:
- He was "very confident that the organisers had bad intentions in calling for the gathering."
- "We must see what had attracted thousands of Indians to gather on Sunday. They were there because they were given false hopes by the organisers."
- "These people go to the rural areas and lure people by saying that they will get money, and of course the people will attend the gathering because they were tempted with money."
Surely Malaysiakini could have helped out and maybe, in this case, not reported at all. You could have saved this minister from the embarrassment of having to go back to the press saying that he was misquoted. I already find it so "geli" (funny) trying to copy and paste the rest of what this deputy minister said.
As for the reader, there are two possible interpretations to this. Firstly, this guy is from Mars while the rest of us are from Earth. The other interpretation depends on whether I am up to a little mischief. Alright, my mischievous "other" interpretation is that this minister truly believes that Indian Malaysians, especially those who went to the Hindraf gathering on Sunday, are a bunch of idiots who actually went there believing they can get some money out of the British.
But then again, I cannot blame him as he surely must have come to this conclusion from his association with Indians whether at home, at work or at play. I know that at least at work, he would be able to see Samy Vellu in close range, both sitting at the same table and him listening to Samy talk. Finally he concludes that Samy is an idiot. This idiot claims to represent Indians. Indians seem to always vote him as their leader. Indians must be idiots!
But if he honestly believes what he is quoted here as saying, can I then conclude that he is an idiot?