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Shame on you, The Star

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The Star can still be relied on for sports news and stock market reports – but its national news section really sucks, writes Francis Loh.

Koay-Teng-Hai-in-Star

For two days running, The Star headlined in the entire front page, in full colour, the story of Koay Teng Hai, the Penang state assembly member for Pulau Tikus, being suspended from his party the DAP.

Koay is not a party heavyweight by any means. Nor is disciplinary action taken by a party on one of its own a big deal. At any rate, The Star’s report was essentially based on the press conference that YB Koay organised and a letter sent to Koay by the head of the Disciplinary Committee, which The Star ‘obtained’. The Chinese-language media and the other English dailies also reported the event. So this news was not ‘exclusive’ to the daily – not that this news item would have been a coup of any sort even if it was.

Nonetheless, the story was played up to the hilt. Not very pleasant looking pictures of Koay were carried. It must have been the first time that Koay had been given such prominence in any newspaper.

In a case like Koay’s suspension, a high-class newspaper might have used the opportunity to conduct some investigative journalism about the merits of the arguments by both sides, to educate the reading public about the role of a politician including his responsibilities to the legislature, and perhaps to take a principled stand about Koay’s absence.

It was also a missed opportunity to write about the problem of absenteeism among our elected officials whether at the state or parliamentary level. And if it had the gumption, The Star could have also discussed the morality of the issue, perhaps relating it to the popular opinion among the rakyat – that ‘all’ our politicians are ‘gila kuasa, gila wang, gila perempuan’. But that might be asking too much of The Star, its aspirations to be a classy regional paper notwithstanding.

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As well, by giving so much space to Koay’s story, The Star missed the opportunity to conduct some investigative reporting into the Sharifah Zohra Jabeen episode. One page of this news, no need for front page and full colour for two pages, and The Star would have endeared itself among the rakyat, especially the young. Why, think about it, The Star would have endeared itself to everyone. For who, on this eve of GE13, would dare to come out to defend poor Sharifah.

In fact, it appears that The Star’s intention in highlighting Koay’s suspension for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) and then front-paging the sacking of a member of the DAP’s Pasukan Peronda Sekarela (PPS) a vigilante group on Thursday) was its way of shifting into third gear. Third gear?

We all know that the Malaysian Chinese Association through Huaren Holdings owns and controls The Star. First gear is the projection of itself as a serious newspaper ; it wishes to be compared to the region’s top English dailies like Thailand’s Bangkok Post and The Nation, the Philippines’ Manila Chronicle and the The Inquirer, and the South China Morning Post. In fact, at first gear it is also pro-MCA, especially the president and those around him. Every time the MCA leadership changes, a new set of people are nominated to take over the newspaper, editorially speaking.

Second gear is when it smooths over intra-MCA and intra-BN differences outside of electoral times. Government policies which the MCA supports are always given prominence. The odd counterpoint opinion by a columnist might be carried. But these counterpoints are few and far between.

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Third gear is the build-up to the elections, like now. The newspaper, which rarely ever carries news of the opposition, suddenly gives space, even the headlines and front pagers, to the opposition, but only to highlight negative reports about them. This is the way to situate the Koay and the sacked PPS member front page reports! Be prepared for many more such items.

Fourth gear? The Utusan Malaysia has been in fourth gear for sometime already. In fourth gear, one spins, one create stories, one becomes a hack. Watch out for how The Star will drop all pretense of being a high-class regional newspaper in the run up to polling day. It is almost disgusting.

No, I won’t be cancelling my subscription to The Star. For it can still be relied on for sports news and stock market reports; why its Section Two can be quite interesting. For example, I liked the report of a Malaysian woman who had settled down in Guatemala which was carried on Wednesday. But the national news section really sucks.

Hmm, I wonder what happens to The Star, let alone Utusan, if and when the PR takes over Putrajaya? Is that when they go into reverse gear?

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Yeoh San Nee
31 Mar 2013 7.46am

OES, which side are u in before u simply bombard a person without any research or b….? Have u ever criticised Dr Jekyll ? Have u ever skinned the C4 murderer or murderers ? I doubt your ability to do so without fear or favour. The least talk of u the better for everyone !!

Ong Eu Soon
27 Jan 2013 2.24am

Francis Loh has no gut to touch on any policies related issue of Lim Guan Eng administration. As president of Aliran we expect him to scrutinize the implementation of policies of the government of the day. Yet he choose to waste his precise time in politicking. He has no eyes to see how the the hill slope development perpetuated by the state government affect our lives. He has no eyes to see how the property centric development affect our traffic. He has no eyes to see how the sky high property price affect the affordability of housing for the general public. He has no eyes to see how the state government wantonly wasted our limited land resources to build super luxury condos for the rich. He has no eyes to see how the plot ratio is been abused to enrich the developers without due diligent on safety and privacy. He has no eyes to see how the development density in the island going to cause traffic congestion in the island. He has no eyes to see how the scandalous RM780million 13km road expansion project took precedent… Read more »

arjuna waspada
arjuna waspada
24 Jan 2013 1.06am

Ini semua dalam semangat liberal terbukaan engage inklusive
kelainan world view vernakular 1M4U gajet roadshow i am open to all your
ideas and concerns Pm for all open sky open door kesamarataan 1M.

Semangat 1M -Semua orang di Malaysia bolih minta apa saja cakap apa saja buat apa saja cetak apa saja . Contoh akhbar MCA sokong DAP Subang dan Penang.

1M juga mengalakkan demonstrasi jalanan yang membawa kapada civil disorder.

Dengan di sediakan prasarana media dan galakkan RM200 untuk beli
semua jenis gajet dan kebebasan bersuara tanpa ISA.

1M mengurangkan penglibatan polis akibat nya mencetus civil disorder dan ujud lah the defiance gaining momentum dan penghuni negara 1M semacam Adam Patrik dan Bawangi.

Dalam semangat ini, Ah Beng pulau pinang menyeru 1M terus buka gelangang barupertelagahan kalimah Islam dalam ucapan tahun baru beliau terus memberi maana yang penuh kapada 1M.Ah Beng pencetus cari fasal dan cari isu.

Sebab Ah Beng tahu 1M memihak kapada nya.
Sebab Ah Beng tahu main politik yang di ajar olih 1M sendiri,

arjuna waspada
changkat lobak

the mythbuster
19 Jan 2013 11.44am

The Star is undoubtedly the ‘star’ among the depraved newspapers such as Utusan, BH and others claiming to be journalistic epitomes in the region but only discerning Malaysians know the truth. Those newspapers, especially The Star and Utusan are only good for disinformation where the politics of the country are concerned. They are the propaganda machines of UMNO/BN … Just the mention of The Star personalities such as Latuk WCW, Josie Tan makes me puke. They the best where gutter journalism is paramount.

Awfully Ashamed
Awfully Ashamed
18 Jan 2013 9.51am

A leading english newspaper together with another malay daily have tried its utmost best to make our journalists the butt of jokes in many drinking joints, just check it out the next time you go drinking.The jokes are more unbearable across the causeway.Shame is part of job description.

chanjoe1
chanjoe1
18 Jan 2013 7.20am

You have to admit Star classified is the top for English readersespecially the House/Apartment/Cars/Land For Sale and not forgetting about the sports section. I agree that the national news section REALLY SUCKS and makes my blood boil and wanna puke cuz they give ….. news whihc we know are too blatantly 1 sided…esp their news commentors…I normally just glance thru this section….and love tos ee what will happen to Star when PR takes over Putrajaya….

chrishhlim
18 Jan 2013 7.13am

I have been ,living in Australia since 1969 and had since stopped reading the rubbish newspaper online for many, many years ago already – there are simply NO CLASS, worthy news for any reader to comprehend because it simply churns out endless propaganda upon propaganda for UMNO/BN without shame whatsoever. Their so-called editorials cannot even scrutinise in details the pros and cons of issues on hand for and on behalf of the all of the Malaysian citizens, except craps from UMNO/BN propaganda machinery! It simply cannot, and will NOT FIGHT injustices facing the crisis of Malaysians and their future prospects living INSIDE a cocooned, corrupt environment! Best regards, Chris Lim (Sydney)

ERIC
ERIC
18 Jan 2013 4.15am

Rubbish paper not worth reading except the sports news.

mmc
mmc
18 Jan 2013 12.13am

go buy star for obituaries. this is one area where they have leadership.
cometh his election, time o bury MCA and together with it the star paper