Personal attack on FMT journalist akin to attempting to silence the media


IT IS regrettable that two PAS leaders - PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad, a Senator who is a full Cabinet minister, and Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim - had deflected the questions and gotten personal by verbally assaulting news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) reporter Minderjeet Kaur after she posed questions on the Kedah state government’s decision to ban licensed gaming outlets in the northern state.

The verbal rebuke against Minderjeet is an assault against the media, the aspiration of delivering information with transparency, and against all media personnel.

The media is the fourth pillar of a practising democracy after the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. It serves to monitor, check and balance against the government.

It is up to the readers to make informed opinions and decisions on any news article, posting or commentary. Politicians need not feel threatened or vexed by questions posed by reporters. In this case, Minderjeet was raising concerns about the ban on licensed gambling being extended to other states.

Both PAS leaders should emulate PAS deputy president and Environment Minister Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who called for a halt to personal and racist attacks against Malaysiakini reporter Kow Gah Chie following an article she wrote about him defending logging in Kelantan. Malaysiakini had, in March 2020, reported that Kow was being harassed on Facebook subsequent to that article (The Star, March 15, 2020).

Praise and respect are earned by addressing the issues raised in a reporter’s questions and treating a fellow human being with respect, and certainly not by demanding it. Dodging inquiries by a reporter with personal attacks and creating unrelated topics reflect poorly on oneself’s and the state government’s policy in question.

A responsible politician, particularly one who is a deputy human resource minister and should be people- and labour-oriented as what his portfolio represents, would not stoop to insulting a reporter, who is only doing her job, earning an honest living.

On the Kedah state government’s decision to ban licenced gaming outlets, Idris Ahmad had asked if Minderjeet could tolerate her husband being a gambler, while Awang Hashim, insisted that she ask the question in Bahasa Malaysia and demanded respect from her for himself first.

CHAN QUIN ER

MCA Spokesman

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