Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Syed Ali Al Habshee's warped argument
Cheras Umno division chief Syed Ali Al Habshee's argument is baffling. He has every right to launch a campaign fund to support Utusan Malaysia to defend itself against the RM30mil defamation suit filed by DAP's Teresa Kok. As a fellow journalist, I would also not want to see another newspaper or journalist being sued. Like Rocky Bru, I share similar sentiments. No one would also argue with Syed Ali's plan to buy loudspeakers for mosques and suraus. It is good of him to do so, really. But the statement by the controversial politician who was quoted as saying that Teresa Kok had challenged the honour of the Malays by suing Utusan as it was a newspaper owned by the Malays is out of line. He must be a very confused person. Newspapers get sued practically everyday by various interest groups. He went on to say that "challenging the Malays is similar to challenging Umno." It is such racial posturing by politicians like Syed Ali that caused Umno and other BN component parties to lose massively in the elections. Politicians like Syed Ali and Ahmad Ismail should stop playing small time communal heroes. Those days are gone and these little warlords should be hauled up by the party leaders, who can see the larger picture, I am sure. Teresa Kok has every right to seek justice and fair compensation, particularly when the mosque involved has defended Teresa Kok, saying she wasn't involved. But that is for the court to decide. But we should be very concerned with politicians who fan racial sentiments ahead of party elections, without regard to the implications of such racially divisive statements. They continue to do so because they believe they can get away with it and the reality is that they get away with it most of the time. It is such arrogance that pissed off Malaysians who want see fair play. For the record - Syed Ali called for my sacking as the editor at an Umno general assembly because I questioned Dr Mahathir Mohamad's record in fighting corruption during his 22-year administration. So much for someone who cares about press freedom.