LETTER

NST vs bloggers: Can Pak Lah afford to be partisan?

AM Ubaidah S

Published
Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

I refer to the malaysiakini report Abdullah defends legal action against bloggers .

Am I reading this right? Is Pak Lah really taking sides here, against Jeff and Rocky, in what is really a civil suit? I mean I know that the NST is an Umno paper but isn't this going a little too far?

It would be far fairer of Pak Lah if he also added a comment along the lines of:

'Traditional media also should take responsibility of their reporting, and responsible blogs then do have a role to play to check the excesses of such media, especially those with links to the establishment like the NST.

'Indeed traditional media like NSTP's publications that are linked to the ruling party must set the standard in responsible reporting ahead of blogs as any poor reporting risks embarrassing the government."

The above lines are not just more creditable for a leader desperately wanting world recognition (since local recognition is tough in these days of floods, boats, inflation and toll hikes), it is also good politics as one, bloggers are voters too and two, Kalimullah Hassan and company are not really the most popular people in Malaysia at the moment.

By the way, there may also be legal reasons why Pak Lah should refrain from commenting on this matter. Australian journalist Michael Backman once commented in his book Inside Knowledge said that (in his view) Malaysian courts are actually quite independent (contrary to popular opinion), but have this annoying habit of typically passing judgement in favour of or in line with what they perceive are the government's desires; the flip-flop on Anwar Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent release on appeal being the case in point.

Could Pak Lah be setting up grounds for an appeal for this case should the NST fellows win?