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Star columnists – are they twisting the truth?

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Journalists and columnists have a sacred duty to uphold truth and justice, asserts John Inbaraj.

Trash it is, without a doubt. But some features on health and fitness, sports and finance draw you to buy The Star occasionally, especially on weekends.

When that happens I find it difficult to avoid the likes of writers Joceline Tan and Baradan Kuppusamy. Without a doubt they are skilful writers in the English language. Such is their skill that with mere words they can make black look white!

I have decided to just have fun with them and ask readers to join me in critically analysing their views if only to let them know that there are intelligent, discerning people out there who treat their views with contempt.

Let’s look at a couple of Sundays gone by (16 September, National Day). Joceline said, “Going solo could backfire on S’gor” while Baradan’s caption on Monday, 17 September reads “PR just hoping to retain Selangor jewel”.


Tactfully Joceline belittles Anwar. The following quotes from her article should help one see how glaringly anti-Anwar, anti-Khalid Ibrahim and anti-PKR she is.

The PKR de facto leader has been quite a news maker over the last few weeks. First, there was the nasty business of the bus getting splashed with red paint when it stopped over in Kota Baru … A couple of flying bricks also left two starburst shatters on the front windscreen …

She goes on:

Before the buzz could subside, his bodyguard…..caused a sensation when he drew out his automatic pistol and pointed it at a group of people in Malacca.

Note: She states that pointing a gun is serious business and quite indefensible…

A professional bodyguard should not behave like a nightclub bouncer.

Question: are nightclub bouncers allowed to point guns?

The police, of course, are investigating the bodyguard not the trouble makers and Joceline saw it not fit to rebuke the police for allowing the opposition leader of the country to be harassed to such an extent. To the person in the street, are such actions to be deemed part of government strategy and therefore legal?

Joceline slowly drifts into the crux of her article which is about Selangor holding separate state elections. Shocks, gasps from both sides of the political divide, hasty decision and “Pakatan Rakyat politicians were as surprised as those from the Barisan” were some of the words she chose to describe her perception of what was actually meant as a possibility.

A key reason for this to happen was that the EC had failed to clean up Selangor’s electoral roll which has risen by about 450,000 new voters.

Strangely though, Joceline has admitted in the last paragraph of the first column that:

Pakatan leaders have toyed with the idea of holding separate polls as far back as 2010.

Did she shoot herself in the foot?

Readers are well aware of hundreds of thousands of Malaysians at Bersih rallies calling for clean and fair elections where evidence of “ghost voters” was revealed.

There is much more. Twists and turns to accommodate Barisan’s agenda, opinions of conformists and a load of tactfully worded personal opinions.

Some may ask, where has integrity gone? Where has independent journalism gone? Does one in government agencies or those leaning towards government agencies apparently have to sell their souls for a pay-check or continued employment?

Baradan Kuppusamy receives my salute for thinking out of the box.

With Selangor going its own way, it appears that Pakatan has given up the fight for Putrajaya to do battle only to retain the ‘jewel in the crown’ state in a separate election.


Holding polls separately from parliamentary polls:

is an admission that Putrajaya … is now beyond reach.

That’s surely an ‘A’ for creative thinking!

The decision also shows they (Pakatan) are prepared to just hunker down, fight and hope to convince voters to let Pakatan continue to rule Selangor as a consolation prize after Putrajaya is lost.’

The ostensible reason for Selangor to go it alone is that the state’s electoral list has not been cleaned of ‘thousands of dubious voters’ an allegation immediately denied by Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof.

Of course! Does anyone expect him to agree?

Baradan goes on:

It is a reason that is difficult to buy since the voters’ list will be the same whether Selangor goes it alone or with the rest.

Well, Mr Baradan, look at it this way. Pakatan wins Putrajaya. There are still months left. The new Pakatan government sacks the entire Election Commision and replaces it with credible people (like Ambiga). Clean the electoral roll and then call for Selangor’s state elections? Isn’t it possible?

When Barisan lost it was a bitter pill to swallow. Najib has declared that Barisan must re-capture the richest state “at all costs”. That normally means even if you have to play dirty.

Indeed political parties and NGOs have uncovered numerous discrepancies. The unwillingness to rectify the roll is an indication of foul play. Over the years many forms of cheating have been uncovered and highlighted by various groups. Is there a possibility of ‘special’ indelible ink that can be washed away with certain chemicals?

Day by day, the voice of the opposition is rising. The indication of the opposition marching into Putrajaya is real. The people see this clearly. This may be the cause for our writers to lean so aggressively towards the Barisan. Maybe they are being pressured … maybe … but these are people born into this world with wisdom, who have acquired knowledge and are bestowed by the almighty with the power of discernment. They have a sacred duty to uphold truth and justice.

John Inbaraj is an Aliran member

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