Another evidence of Utusan Malaysia’s relentless effort to spearhead Najib’s Media Transformation Programme

The Kuala Lumpur High Court award of RM250,000 in damages and RM30,000 in costs against Utusan Malaysia in favour of former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin over the WWW1 car number plate issue is the latest evidence of the UMNO media’s relentless effort to spearhead Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Media Transformation Programme (MTP) to transform news into lies, truth into falsehoods, facts into fiction and information into misinformation.

In its role to blaze the path towards media transformation programme, Utusan had set a new record for both national and international media, as the media whether inside the country or in the world which is not only the most sued for defamation but for losing the most defamation suits, including:

  • Two libel suits by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who was awarded RM400,000 in accumulated damages for both suits;

  • Judgment of RM50,000 in damages to DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit Gelugor Karpal Singh in December 2012 for a “mischievous” Utusan article painting him as anti-Islam; and

  • In January 2013, the High Court awarded Anwar Ibrahim RM45,000 in damages after a series of Utusan articles deliberately misrepresented his statement in a BBC interview so as to suggest that the opposition leader was pro-LGBT.

For the past four years, Utusan Malaysia has specialised in spinning fiction as fact, which is why I have said Utusan Malaysia has long ceased to be a newspaper but is nothing but a “lies-paper” – one important reason why Umno/Barisan Nasional lost the “perception war” in the recent 13th General Election, as it is most naïve on the part of Najib and his 13GE “War Room” strategists to ever believe that they could win credibility and the perception war by transforming news into lies, truth into falsehood, fact into fiction and information into misinformation.

For four years, Utusan Malaysia had been spewing racist, inflammatory, incendiary and seditious lies and falsehoods, like the baseless allegations that DAP wants to create a Christian Malaysia, that the Chinese want to oust the political power of the Malays and to dominate Malaysian politics and the latest canard, a DAP-funded “Red Bean Army” of 3,000 cybertroopers to demonise and character-assassinate Umno/BN leaders.

The baseless allegation of a DAP-funded “Red Bean Army” of 3,000 cybertroopers with a budget of RM100 million to RM1 billion in the past six years operating from Concorde Hotel in Kuala Lumpur is the silliest Utusan Malaysia lies and fiction passing off as truth and fact, but what is most astonishing is that there are Ministers and MPs who could be bitten by the “Red Bean Army” bug as to allow the fictitious issue to dominate the current debate in Parliament on the royal address and even considered serious enough to be raised in Cabinet!

If Utusan Malaysia could transform Parliament and Cabinet into “Red Bean Parliament” and “Red Bean Cabinet” to discuss these Utusan fables as if they are true and serious matters of state, the national standing of the Najib premiership has plunged to a new low.

In such circumstances, it is no surprise that on the fourth year of Najib’s Government Transformation Programme to transform Malaysia’s politics, economics, education and the social scene including the media, Malaysia has hit a historic low in its World Press Freedom Index 2013, being ranked No. 145, the worst since the annual index was begun in 2002.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah