Deja vu at The Star

By Reina

The letter issued by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission on August 18 which led to the suspension does not state exactly what was the offence allegedly committed by Jamaluddin Ibrahim, the DJ at Star’s 98.8 FM.

It was the same thing back in 1987 when no one really knew what the exact accusation was against The Star and why the Home Ministry felt there was reason enough to shut the paper down.

The Star bosses are in the dark now just as they were then. They can only guess  what the reasons might be.

Some say Jamaluddin has been too free with his comments on race and religion. Others say he can be crude on air.

These are probably the reasons why the younger Mandarin-speaking Malaysians have been taken up by this Beijing-born son of Communist Party of Malaya leaders Shamsiah Fakeh and Ibrahim Mohammed.

In fact, Jamaluddin is one of the most popular, if not the most, DJ among all the DJs in all the three radio stations The Star Publications owns. The Star Publications (M) Bhd’s subsidiary, Star RFM Sdn Bhd, owns the 988 FM Mandarin radio station, the Red FM English radio station and the Suria FM Malay radio station.

The one that garners the most listenership is Suria FM and the one with the least listenership is 988 FM. Of the three, the most revenue comes from 988 FM and the least from Suria FM.

Some say that the reason for MCMC’s action could be because Jamaluddin and some of his team members are still partial towards former MCA president Ong Tee Keat and are not showing allegiance towards present chief Chua Soi Lek.

If this incident was an isolated event then well and fine – one would accept the reason that Chua probably went crying to the MCMC and asked them to intervene just so that he could show these 988 FM people who’s boss.

But there are just too many issues / incidents surrounding this incident which are reminiscent of the 1969 race riots and events leading to the 1987 Operasi Lalang like:

  • Allegations that a secondary school principal in Kulai, Johor had openly made racial slurs against her pupils and the Education Minister’s what seems to be tap on the wrist action against the principal. The Education Ministry was also the main actor in 1987 when the ministry appointed some 100 senior assistants and principals who were not Mandarin-educated to vernacular Chinese schools and this provoked protests.
  • Claims that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s name is being used in place of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s in the ‘doa’ after the Friday sermon. Eyewitnesses say that the May 13 1969 race riots did not start at Kampung Baru just after the May 10 elections but that it started even before the elections and in Penang. Some parts of Penang like Jalan Dato Keramat and Tanjung Tokong were said to have had incidents where there were bloody and fatal clashes between the Malays and Chinese. Some believe that the Najib administration would use Penang as the starting point for his “campaign” to discredit the opposition and to nullify their strength.
  • The rift between Najib and his deputy Muhyiddin has been long suspected and this obviously means that UMNO is split. In 1987, the split in UMNO was one of the issues at the background.

Am I reading too much into things? Don’t think so.

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