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The mainstream press yesterday predictably milked to the last drop what’s left of MCA vice-president Dr Chua Soi Lek, who had confessed publicly that he was the man involved in the sex DVD.

But MCA-owned The Star, however, provided a take on this issue that could be considered ‘compassionate’. Its page one was graced with a huge photo of an embattled Chua, accompanied by a large headline, “It’s me”.

Its inside pages carried stories with headlines such as “Chua says sorry over sex DVD”; “Wife: Family and I will stand by him”; “A calm Chua faces newsmen”; and “Certain parties out to destroy minister, says Labis MCA chief”. In today’s Star, reports were peppered with phrases such as "cool front", "usual no-nonsense self", and "no signs of him being nervous".

Wong Chun Wai, in his Comment piece today, used phrases such as "come clean", "a man who does not mince his words", "best Health Minister the country has ever had", "among the most intelligent and capable leaders", "calm and prepared to listen", and "has set the right example".

But what exactly was the legacy of this "best Health Minister" to the public health care system? There was no real critique of this. Surely readers would want a more detailed analysis of how Chua has contributed to – or damaged – the public health care system, which will affect the vast majority of us. Or do editors presume that readers are so dumb and apathetic that they would not be interested?

Instead, there was one other story in yesterday’s Star that carried a headline which begs the question of whether it was the result of an editor’s slip-up or purely mischievous handiwork: “Chua – highly experienced”, followed by a kicker: “A leader known for his hands-on work”! For good measure, Wong also described Chua as a "hands-on minister" in his Comment today. Go figure.

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