Sunday, January 08, 2006

When Umno's media Utusan Malaysia made similar mistake of identification, it's okay ...

John Malott demands a retraction from Utusan Malaysia
FAC News - 1 April 2001

On Friday, 30 March 2001, Utusan Malaysia’s headline said that John R. Malott, one-time US Ambassador to Malaysia, had attended a "secret meeting" in Malaysia with the National Justice Party. Utusan Malaysia is a Malay language daily owned by UMNO, the dominant partner in the ruling coalition.

When John Malott awoke in his home in California and logged onto the Internet he was shocked to discover he could be in two places at the same time, halfway across the world. John Malott quickly learnt, in Malaysia this is possible – hence Malaysia’s well shouted slogan, "Malaysia Boleh" (which means "Malaysia Can").

After all, was Anwar Ibrahim not sentenced to nine years jail for committing sodomy in a Kuala Lumpur apartment that was not yet built and when he was not even in the country at that time?

That same day John Malott sent Utusan Malaysia an e-mail asking them to retract their false newspaper report. (Full text of John Malott’s e-mail to Utusan Malaysia can be read here).

In his e-mail, John Malott said that the article is a complete fabrication as he is in California and has not been in Malaysia since January 2000. John Malott added that it is an offense under Malaysian law to publish a false article and that he would be well within his rights to take legal action against Utusan Malaysia.

John Malott demanded that Utusan Malaysia publish the retraction in a prominent position in the newspaper as well as on its Website that clearly acknowledges the report was not accurate. John Malott also demanded that Utusan Malaysia include an apology and for them to remove the false article from the Website.

At the same time John Malott sent Malaysiakini another e-mail that said "it shows clearly that the paper is no longer a newspaper, but a political instrument". (Full text of John Malott’s e-mail to Malaysiakini can be read here).

"The article, with its screaming headline that I had attended a secret meeting in Malaysia, is a pure fabrication," said John Malott.

John Malott added, "After his arrest, Anwar Ibrahim said, "If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone."

Utusan clearly has written a false report about me -- for I cannot be in two places, halfway around the world, at the same time."

"But of greater concern, it once again shows the evil that this so-called newspaper is capable of. If they can write such a false and concocted story about me, then they can write it about anyone."

"When Utusan's false stories are used to smear the political and personal reputations of good people in Malaysia and even lead to charges of sedition, it shows clearly that the paper is no longer a newspaper, but a political instrument."


Free Anwar