Malaysian Press should be more enteprising and investigative so that Malaysians do not have to depend on the foreign media to read about Malaysian news and developments


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday):
In keeping with the all-out war against corruption launched by the Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, there is an urgent need for the Malaysian press to play a leading role to promote a new culture of integrity in the public service with zero tolerance for corruption.

In his paper on "Establishing a Fully Moral and Ethical Society: The Way Forward" presented at the National Congress on Vision 2020 held on April 29-30, Dr. Chanda Muzaffar made a very pertinent observation about corruption and the mass media, when he said:

No society can succeed in waging and sustaining an all-out war against corruption unless the campaign can secure the support and participation of all sectors of society, in particular the mass media, in creating information and public awareness about the importance of creating a new culture of integrity in the public service with zero tolerance for corruption.

In fact, the country must develop a culture where not only the press, but Malaysian citizens, are encouraged to expose corruption. In some countries, for instance, the government and citizen groups come together to support the establishment of organisations which are nonprofit and tax-exempt and whose charter is to expose and correct corruption in government and the private sector through research and public education.

For a start, the Malaysian mass media must be more enteprising and investigative so that Malaysians do not have to read about Malaysian news and developments from foreign media rather than local press.

A good recent example where Malaysians have still to depend on the foreign media to read about Malaysian news and developments is with regard to the Bakun hydroelectric power project.

The recent issue of Asiaweek for instance carried a report on the controversial Bakun dam under the heading: "A sinking feeling - Financing Bakun is looking almost as tricky as building the dam", while the Asian Wall Street Journal had also been carrying reports about the Bakun dam, as for instance about widespread market speculation that the Malaysian government had directed Renong to help bail out Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing after the disastrous undersubscription of Ekranís one-for-one rights issue to raise funds for the Bakun dam project.

It is time for the Malaysian mass media to embark on enterprising and investigative journalism, particularly in support of the all-out war against corruption by exposing corruption and abuses of power which are rampant in the country.

(7/7/97)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong