Utusan goes for Star’s neck

By Reina

Utusan Malaysia and The Star are old friends. The two papers have ganged up against the newspapers in the NSTP stable since the stone ages – swapping stories and photos, making sure NSTP newspapers do not scoop them, etc.

But it looks like this rosy relationship is about to change when Utusan published a commentary entitled ‘Cara halus akhbar Inggeris main isu perkauman’ (An English newspaper’s subtle way of playing up race issue) in Friday’s Utusan Malaysia.

(See below for the English translation of this article.)

The commentary, said to be written by a certain former minister, accuses “a certain English newspaper” of using third parties like opposition leaders and the Bar Council to criticize articles in Utusan that are deemed to have strong racial undertones. The writer zeroes in on the Star’s comment piece on the cow head protest written by the English newspaper’s editor-in-chief.

Utusan is obviously referring to The Star because the MCA ownership was mentioned and The Star is the only English daily owned by the party.

It is not clear what the motives are and why Utusan would put an old relationship at risk. Although the paper has been long regarded as the mouthpiece of the Umno leadership, it is not clear if the decision to run the criticism against The Star was made by certain individuals in the editorial or if higher forces were behind it.

Is Utusan gunning for The Star, or is there a hidden agenda?

Could it be that theories of an UMNO agenda to abandon its non Bumi partners in the BN and go it alone on the Ketuanan Melayu platform are true? It would certainly seem like it with the MCA & MIC openly falling out with the UMNO big shots. But, we do not know for sure at this time.

What we do know for sure is that with this unprecedented Utusan attack on the Star points to further unravelling of traditional political ties at some level.

This view is certainly strengthened by the MCA’s statement about the state of media freedom in the nation:

“MCA is further concerned that if the authorities or regulating bodies are seen to act “efficiently” against Malaysiakini or Sin Chew Daily, whilst “lack of action” of “no action” has yet to be taken against certain publications which regularly have commentaries fanning racial agenda of a particularly community thus provoking the sensitivities of Malaysian minorities, despite police reports lodged.” – Lee Wei Kiat, MCA spokesperson, Information and Communication Bureau.

Despite the UMNO-owned Utusan’s blatant attack on the MCA-owned Star, the MCA dared not even mention Utusan in its protest statement (as befitting of MCA’s role, which according to the Utusan article is to – “keep quiet about certain issues because of its age-old understanding with UMNO.”)

The irony of Utusan’s accussations of the Star’s racism is that it is Utusan itself has on numerous occasions been accused of trying to incite racial discontent by both Malay and non-Malay leaders.

Let’s just imagine that Utusan purposes to use its articles and commentaries to inflame racial hatred and the matter snowballs into street protests and there is a possibility, or perceived possibility, of race riots erupting in various parts of the country. The government then would be forced launch Ops Lalang II where there would be mass arrests, curfews, tighter controls on media, etc.

I’m sure a responsible newspaper like Utusan wouldn’t stoop so low.

— English translation of ‘Cara halus akhbar Inggeris main isu perkauman’—

An English newspaper’s subtle way of playing up race issue

A certain English newspaper often labels Utusan Malaysia as being racist. There are times when a certain news item deemed racist is selected for criticism by the Opposition or the Bar Council.

That newspaper is smart because it does not directly antagonise this paper put  uses a third party instead.

I have been observing the tactics and strategies of that newspaper for a while now. In a few situations, that newspaper was successful and effective in portraying itself as having a national characteristic.

In my opinion, any report in Utusan Malaysia regarded as Malay-racist are actually reports that stand with the Malays and defend their bumiputera rights as per the Constitution. However, that newspaper diverts general opinion into seeing these issues as racist in nature.

What that English newspaper is doing goes against the policies of MCA themselves, who have to keep quiet about certain issues because of its age-old understanding with UMNO.

The action of that newspaper gives the impression that MCA is spineless in the eyes of the Chinese community.

But lately, in its fervency to show its impartiality to a multi-racial community, the newspaper has put all blame on one race.

It sees the protest by the Muslim residents in Shah Alam’s Section 23 only from one angle. The people, in their protest against the building of a Hindu
temple at their housing area, had brought the head of a cow to the Selangor
state secretariat building.

The newspaper editorial and even the editor-in-chief’s weekly column voiced the opinion that gives the impression that the Muslims in Malaysia, by doing such a thing, are not tolerant towards other religions.

In last Sunday’s editorial, that English newspaper said: “Since when has any location in Malaysia been off-limits for any building of worship? This was never a problem before, so why the need to “quarantine” another faith now?”

It is clear that in this issue, the editor’s point of view is based on just this latest problem. The building of Hindu temples indiscriminately without the permission of the authorities has been happening for a long time in this country and has become an impossible problem because the Hindus regard it as a sensitive issue without thinking of the sensitivities of those who land has been encroached.

The best example is the illegal construction of a Hindu temple at the area near Angkasapuri. There have been numerous requests by the Information Ministry to have the temple demolished but action has yet to be taken. News of the protests were played up in the Tamil newspapers.

Doesn’t that newspaper editor know that places of worship cannot simply be built and this includes those of the Muslims themselves? There are limits to the construction of places of worship but these have been violated by Hindus for so long by illegal construction of temples. They start with small ones then they grow into big ones and then they want it legalised. If it is not approved, it is turned into a race issue.

To demonstrate the tolerance of the Chinese, that English newspaper pointed out that the Kapitan Keling Mosque stands tall and proud in the middle of George Town, Penang. But he has forgotten the fact that there are many Chinese temples in Malay kampungs and Malay areas since pre-Merdeka days.

That newspaper has forgotten that it had published stories and letters to the editor condemning the presence of Bangladeshis who work in the stalls and businesses at Petaling Street for ruining the identity of the street which has been always been known to be a Chinese area.

The newspaper also tries to confuse the public about the tolerance of the Malays all this while just because a group of Malays brought a cow head to the Selangor state secretariat.

Why not condemn the Chinese for bringing a pig was wrapped in cloth to a Malay housing area in Malacca not too long ago?

The attitude of that newspaper is like that of Singapore’s former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew who tried to portray the the Malays as racists in the Malaysian Parliament by confusing the issues.

Kuan Yew said in one of his speeches: “Even if we accept Malay as the national language, we cannot stop the Chinese from speaking Chinese in their own homes and the Indians from speaking Tamil among themselves and the Sabah and Sarawak races of using their own languages.”

The question is who is stopping them? Are the Malays stopping the Chinese from speaking Chinese in their own homes? Kuan Yew was making baseless  statements just to incite racial prejudice. This is a subtle and clever way, but evil.

In their enthusiasm to champion Hindu temples and defend the opposition government that the newspaper hopes will eventually lead to the establishment of a Malaysian Malaysia, that English newspaper has shown its true colours as a racist newspaper, just like most Chinese newspapers in this country.

What Malaysians who love harmony and want 1Malaysia can do is to spread the news that that newspaper is supported by the pro-DAP and pro-Malaysian Malaysia Chinese who are also anti-1Malaysia.

13 Responses to “Utusan goes for Star’s neck”
  1. hartalmsm says:

    The irony is that it is Utusan that has on numerous occasions been accused of trying to incite racial sentiments with the blatant bias and one-sidedness of its inflammatory articles and insidious Awang Selamat editorials.

    Most recently, Utusan commentator Dr Mohd Ridhuan Tee Abdullah — who holds a doctorate in political science (and NOT Islamic Studies, mind you) and who wrote his thesis on ‘Chinese perception of Umno’ — had riled up the Chinese newspaper fraternity and Chinese community with his racially divisive articles.

    His series of weekly articles slammed cause celebre Teoh Beng Hock as an ‘adulteror’ and Teoh’s yet to be born baby as ‘anak haram’.

    Ridhuan’s articles also instigate discontent with his constant bemoaning that the Malays are ill-fated in their own land, and his citing various spurious race-and-religion comparisons examples, while on the flip side, adamantly accusing the Chinese of being ‘ultra kiasu’.

    We previously aggregated the article ‘Ridhuan Tee’s reverse take on racism’, here.

  2. JAMES LIM says:

    Baseless statement by UTUSAN MALAYSIA “Why not condemn the Chinese for bringing a pig was wrapped in cloth to a Malay housing area in Malacca not too long ago?”

    Even the police have not found who is the person/s bringing a pig wrapped in cloth to a Malay housing area(or mosque as reported in today’s The Star newspaper,13/9/09). If the police had found out the person/s he/she/they would have been charged by now.

    Thus how can UTUSAN MALAYSIA simply make the above statement ? It will only cause the Malays to hate the Chinese .
    They should not simply make statement without proof.

  3. Helen Ang says:

    Another take on the same issue by respected mediawatch,


  4. hatimarah says:

    Utusan Malaysia, please remember the two incidences are totally different in nature. In Shah Alam, people who are linked to UMNO marched to the Selangor MB’s gates with the cow’s head demanding that the temple issue be resolved without involving the Sec.23 residents. Whereas in the other incidences involving the ‘pig head’, it was only reported ‘someone’, did that shameful act and even the police can’t investigate to find out who the culprits are.
    2. Isn’t it crystal clear the Utusan is trying to grind/spin story to ‘uphold’ the shameful acts of ‘a few’ irresponsible people who did that irresponsible act. Instead of criticizing the ‘guilty’ party, it’s doing it’s up most best to protect them. Isn’t it shameful and irresponsible of a national newspaper to behave in such a manner. Shame on you Utusan.
    3. Back to the pig head, the police should/ought to investigate why such a thing happened. Was it a conspiracy by political parties to agitate the races concerned and trying to turn it into a race issu for the benefit of certain parties.

  5. sembilan says:

    It is not difficult to differentiate between a moderate and an evil politician. How does one descibe a poltician when on a win, he/she is a corruptor and when losing he/she is a racist. Damn these idiots.

  6. AnginBarat says:

    A humble take on this matter is that Utusan may be journeying a slow but steady road to create chaos on behalf of old & newly- minted UMNO warlords . MIC & MCA and, generally all Malaysians would do well do watch their backs as something is brewing and the initial wafts of this concocted recipe by these hidden-hand Chefs doesn’t even come close to the aroma of 1Malaysia.

    Calm before the storm?

  7. Putusan says:

    The last sentence “I’m sure a responsible newspaper like Utusan wouldn’t stoop so low.” before the English translation section ….

    Maybe should be rephrased to > I’m sure an IRRESPONSIBLE newspaper like Utusan WOULD stoop so low <.

    That is already well known…that's why the sales of the NST group is in shit. Many shops still have piles of the papers unsold after 8.00 pm at night. Serves them right !!

    Just ignore or do not react to whatever they spinned … that will will negate their evil intentions.

  8. Johnny Lee says:

    UTUSAN MALAYSIA is UMNO newspaper (100%). Why want to buy UMNO newspaper? The more you read this UMNO papers, the more you feel the editors are RACIST and still remaining at stone-age era. They still think they are the BOSSES in Malaysia. PATHETIC!!! Wish them Good Night!!!

  9. KKLim says:

    Whoever the person that was alleged to have thrown a pig’s head into a Malay housing area, not only I, but I think all other sensible Malaysians would have condemned him. The problem was nobody really knows who the person was and the police was not even able to confirm who did it. So who do u blame ? The Chinese, Indians or Portugese ? But for Utusan to quote this as (other races’) attempt to insult the Malays is not only irrational but highly irresponsible. I think we deserve an apology from the writer.

  10. sang kancil says:

    I believe we have said enough. Never get angry. Get EVEN. Vote the lot out on GE13 and make Malaysia proud again.

  11. Paul Warren says:

    “I’m sure a responsible newspaper like Utusan wouldn’t stoop so low.”

    Ah!…er…..Did you say that??

    Utusan….responsible….those two words in one sentence???

    Hello, something wrong with your English? Or syntax error??

  12. Bujang Perantau says:

    Utusan Malaysia has never been Utusan Malaysia. It should be called Utusan Melayu as it is for the Malays, fighting for Malays’ rights instead of Malaysians, writes more about the Malays and not any other races in Malaysian.
    It should be called Utusan Umno, for it has been the paper for Umno and all about Umno.
    As for The Star, it is an English paper for the Chinese and Indians as most of its contents are meant for Chinese and Indians. Top post holders are Chinese and Indians.
    NST Group and Media Prima…Umno’s papers and TVs.
    RTM and Bernama are government media but most of the time could not differentiate between the government and governing party. Mostly serve Umno and give tiny attention to other BN parties. Too afraid to do coverage for opposition though the information obtain could be handy for the government.
    Malaysiakini says it reports the truth but it seems that it does not report entirely the truth. Slanting itself towards Anwar Ibrahim most of the time.
    Never read Harakah but this paper dares to poke Pas’ leaders. Despite being a paper for an Islamic party, it is not as holy as most people thought.
    The Chinese and Indian newspapers…always blow up small issues and always misinterpret most matters either deliberately or indeliberately.

    Conclusion…There’s no reason to be concerned with any of those newspapers or media. Just read and take whatever that is important for you.
    Don’t even trust any foreign media. They are all the same.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Utusan goes for Star’s neck By Reina Utusan Malaysia and The Star are old friends. The two papers have ganged up against the newspapers in the NSTP […] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: