COMMENT | When he was in power not very long ago, newspapers, news portal and journalists incurred his wrath. He could do what he wanted – threaten news outlets with closure and for a good measure, flex his muscles – physically and literally.
Journalists were expected to quote only the “nice words” that flowed out of his mouth. Anything else was taboo.
Claiming to have a doctorate in human communication studies, he remarked that Malaysiakini was setting an agenda to “tarnish the image of a person, party or government”. It was not his first unprovoked and unjustified attack on journalists, especially those from this portal.
“When you quote me, put it as a whole (the entire text). Do not put 'half-half' as it would become a half-truth. Why when I say... they directly attack me. I am always open.
“If I am open... but you (the news portal) is closed, this is called jumud (backward). There should not be agenda setting. You must be a professional journalist and not become a street journalist where you find some material and spin," he had said.
In October 2013, with the “untouchable” Barisan Nasional government in power (after being voted in, yet again five months earlier), I wrote a commentary under the heading “The foot is in the mouth again.”
“….what was more shocking was his endorsement of the Tiga Line underworld group, calling them his friends and urging them to do what they needed to do. Tiga Line, he thundered, weren’t thugs and were in fact some form of benevolent gangsters that only turned up at festivals.
“I am writing this article from the heart – fully aware of the consequences. I am well aware that a fellow journalist was arrested for ‘her own protection’. I very well know that I could incur the wrath of the Lord and Master. Silence is no longer an option for those who choose to call themselves journalists. For our dignity and pride, we have to stand and say our piece on those who choose to ride roughshod over us.”
But it appears that the haughtiness, arrogance and his self-presented feeling of security has not disappeared with this man. The trademark smirk has not gone despite his party being booted out and he himself facing charges of corruption and fraud...