National Press Club president Datuk Ahirudin Attan says the Malaysian government shouldn’t react to adverse reports.
Instead, it should engage with the media to set the record straight and provide evidence to rebut any allegations.
He was responding to Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s statement on Monday that international television channel Al Jazeera should apologise for “false reporting” after alleging the government arrested illegal immigrants under the guise of public health and safety.
“I will not make excuses for shoddy reporting but the Malaysian government with all the resources available should adopt a long-term and more strategic communication with regards to major issues like migrants,” said Ahirudin.
“There is too much bad press because of the negative vibes sent out by our own people too,” he said, referring to the purported anti-Rohingya sentiment during the Movement Control Order period which saw some Malaysians directing hate speech towards the community.
“We should take a leaf from Covid-19 and how well we’ve handled the crisis as well as the perception,” Ahirudin said.
Instead of asking for an apology from Al Jazeera, the government should set the record straight and rebut the allegations made in the documentary ‘Locked up in Malaysia’s Lockdown’.
“Many Malaysians have spoken out against the programme. A doctor has said the claims are false.
“Other Malaysians and NGOs have also spoken out. The government must forget the old practices and set up better communication and engage with the media.
“We need to show why the programme got it wrong and give us a chance to answer the allegations,” said Ahirudin.
He added the media – local and foreign – must be responsible in their reporting by always giving both sides of a story.
Here’s the round-up of other news in The News Normal today.
FORMER NATIONAL FOOTBALLER NEEDS A JOB
Khalid Jamlus, once the nation’s top striker, has been forced to sell memorabilia, including his 2002 Golden Boot award, as he is broke.
The former Perak hitman is not seeking sympathy or a handout but wants to secure a job as a coach as he has a B licence.
“I’ve not been able to secure a job for the past three years because no one is giving me a chance to be part of football,” he told Twentytwo13.
OPR REDUCED BY 25 BASIS POINTS
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Bank Negara Malaysia has reduced the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) by 25 basis points to 1.75 per cent. The ceiling and floor rates of the corridor of the OPR are correspondingly reduced to two per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.
At 1.75 per cent, this is the lowest in Bloomberg’s records dating back to 2004.
JHO LOW’S HOTEL FOR SALE
A boutique hotel owned by fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, who is wanted over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, is for sale for US$100 million (RM427.55 million).
The property was commandeered from Low, who has been described as the architect of 1MDB that ensnared Datuk Seri Najib Razak and one of Wall Street’s most powerful banks, Goldman Sachs. Viceroy, which operates the hotel, charges an average of US$600 (RM2,562) a night for a room.
CLOCK TICKING FOR TIKTOK
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News the United States is “certainly looking at” banning TikTok over concerns that it could be used by the Beijing government as a surveillance and propaganda tool.
This comes after India banned TikTok and 58 other applications developed by Chinese firms over concerns they were engaging in activities that threatened “national security and defence of India”. TikTok has also pulled out of Hong Kong.
GOODBYE CHARLIE DANIELS
Country music and southern rock icon Charlie Daniels, 83, died early this morning in Hermitage, Tennessee, after doctors said he had a stroke.
He was a country music and southern rock icon who entertained fans for decades with songs like “Long-Haired Country Boy,” “In America,” and his signature fiddle tune “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”
THREE MILLION CASES IN UNITED STATES
The United States reached three million Covid-19 cases today.
That is more than a quarter of almost 11.8 million cases worldwide. The US also has the most deaths with 133,000 fatalities. Worldwide, there have been more than 540,000 deaths.