I have sent an official complaint to the Bernama Board of Governors asking them to cause an investigation by the Bernama Supervisory Council over the Bernama coverage of IMF reports as misleading, irresponsible and dishonest


Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): I have sent an official complaint to the Bernama Board of Governors asking them to cause an investigation by the Bernama Supervisory Council over the Bernama coverage of IMF reports as misleading, irresponsible and dishonest,.

Bernama had misled Malaysians by reporting an IMF "glowing report" on Malaysia when this was an outdated report prepared before the economic crisis in July last year.

Bernama not only passed off a six-month old report on the Malaysian economy before the economic crisis as the latest IMF report, it also misled Malaysians in failing to report the IMF’s latest report on the Malaysian economy released in Washington on Dec. 19, 1997 in the form of its Interim World Economic Outlook, which gave the forecast that Malaysia’s economic growth this year would be 2.5 per cent. Thirdly, Bernama reported on Tuesday, which appeared in the mass media yesterday, that the IMF had issued a report on "International Capital Markets" concerning its latest study on the Asian financial turmoil where it said that the ringgit's depreciation was due to the limited support given by Bank Negara to the currency after the baht's effective devaluation on July 2.

The issue here is that this IMF report was put online on Dec. 4 on the IMF website and Bernama should have been able to report it by the first week of December if it had kept abreast with the latest IT developments.

We want the Bernama to be a national news agency, and not a national old news agency.

Section 4 of the Bernama Act, 1967 sets out the following objectives of the national news agency, namely:

Section 6 provides for a mechanism for complaints against the Bernama violating its statutory objectives to be investigated, namely:

Section 7 provides for the composition of such a Supervisory Council, namely:

Bernama has clearly violated Section (4)(1)(a) on its statutory duty "to seek for and present complete, objective and impartial news or news material on any matter of public and national interests within and outside Malaysia" and I hope a full inquiry would be held into my complaint to make Bernama a national news agency which could be the pride of Malaysians rather than the butt of jokes.

(8/1/98)


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