Press Statement By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 13.4.2014.
New Straits Times Should Be Severely Punished For Acting Against The National Interests By Trying To Exploit The MH370 Tragedy With Treacherous Intent Of Sensational And False Reporting Without Due Regards For Facts And The Feelings Of Family Members Of The Passengers.
New Straits Times(NST) should be severely punished for acting against the national interests by trying to exploit the MH370 tragedy with treacherous intent of sensational and false reporting without due regards for facts and the feelings of family members of the passengers. As NST is owned by UMNO and regarded as both UMNO and the Federal government’s mouthpiece, its front-page world exclusive expose on 12 April 2014 has caught the world’s attention.
Indeed if true, the report was sensational, boldly titled “MH370’s desperate call for help” with the sub-heading of “Investigators have revealed that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Rahman had made a call from his mobile phone as the plane flew low near Penang. Who he was trying to reach remains a mystery?”. Unfortunately, this so called world exclusive by NST is a bare-faced lie.
Bernama reported that Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has refuted NST’s front-page report that the co-pilot of the MH370 aircraft had made a telephone call when it was flying low near Penang. He also said it was irresponsible for any quarters to take the opportunity to make a baseless report.
A public reprimand that is a mere slap on the wrist on NST is not enough. Such lies and baseless information may not only affect search operations but also the families of the passengers and the crew of the aircraft. The Federal government must be both unforgiving and punishing towards NST, more so when it is owned by UMNO and a mouthpiece for the BN leaders.
The whole world is watching whether the Malaysian government dares to act without fear or favour against such blatant lies. Failure to do so will cause Malaysia’s international reputation to lose any little integrity and credibility remaining. Further any inaction may even hamper and jeorpardise efforts by the Malaysian government towards the restoration of trade, tourism and goodwill of Chinese investors, tourists and people.
Flight MH370 and the kidnap of two women off Semporna Island in Sabah by Filipino terrorists have resulted in the boycott of Malaysia by Chinese tourists and investors. Even the two giant pandas scheduled to arrive this month, are not coming. Penang has also not been spared with 50% cancellation of mainland Chinese tourists’ arrivals and a Chinese airline reducing its weekly flight to Penang from 7 flights weekly to four flights weekly.
Mainland Chinese tourists in Penang constitute 4% of the total market, but what about other tourist destination with greater reliance on mainland Chinese tourist such as Sabah, Johor Baru, Melaka and Langkawi? Penang’s tourism is still growing because the other markets from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Europe and ASEAN countries are still coming in greater numbers.
By engaging in gutter journalism, NST is not helping efforts to restore confidence amongst the angry Chinese upset at the Malaysian government’s handling of the MH370 tragedy. Whilst NST should make a front-page apology, the Malaysian government must follow up with strong punishment to demonstrate to the world that it is not cohabitating with liars such as the NST.
LIM GUAN ENG
-- CN Version --