Govt to improve media ties

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will have more engagement with the media so the people will be kept abreast with the situation in the country, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Prime Minister said weakness in communicating the success of its policies could be the reason behind Pakatan Harapan’s dwindling popularity among the public.

Speaking after the Pakatan presidential council meeting yesterday, he said there were claims that the Pakatan government was no longer well-liked by the public.

“We found out that we did not do anything wrong but because of poor communication, even though we spoke to the press about our successes, the press asked us controversial questions.

“We find that there are those who stir up questions of race, religion and differences and all sorts.

“Such things can be resolved by the government in the Cabinet but because numerous reports gave rise to anger from various quarters, small issues turned into big issues resulting in a wedge between the races, ” he said.

Dr Mahathir expressed worry that it would be difficult to contain enmity between the races if the media continued to report on the negatives.

When pointed out by reporters that their reports were based on comments by Pakatan leaders themselves, Dr Mahathir said that the reports were due to comments from lower-ranking leaders.

“They (lower rank leaders) are not aware of the problems and give knee-jerk responses, ” he said.

On the Umno-PAS charter, Dr Mahathir described it as an unhealthy one since they played up racial and religious sensitivities which could threaten the nation’s multicultural society.

“They will only create animosity among the people like what is happening in other countries now, ” he said.

On the call by certain quarters to boycott non-Muslim products, Dr Mahathir said it was a waste of time.

“Why would anyone want to support boycotting products made by another race? This is an ineffective weapon, ” he said, adding that such calls would only stir up anger.

Dr Mahathir also confirmed the deportation of a Turkish school teacher, his wife and children, on accusations of being part of a movement that Ankara brands as terrorists.

He said the deportation was based on police discretion.

When asked on claims that the man and family may be tortured by the Turkish government, he said that there was no proof of such.

Bernama reported that Turkish intelligence forces have arrested the so-called Malaysia chief of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (Feto) in an operation and brought him back to Turkey.

According to the report, the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) caught Arif Komis, who had allegedly held senior positions in the terror group in different countries in the past.

He is wanted by Turkey on charges of being a member of an armed terrorist organisation.

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