Who is the "Black Hand" behind certain mass media campaign to exploit the DAP crisis to try to destroy the DAP to help the Barisan Nasional in the coming general elections

Media Conference Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Last week, I had complained that certain mass media in the country appears to have certain agendas in their most unfair coverage of the DAP crisis, mentioning one national daily which previously had virtually blacked out all DAP news and even going to the extent of banning the name "Lim Kit Siang" in its reporting of parliamentary debates, but which now devote daily extensive coverage to the DAP's crisis, often times putting the DAP on its front page.

Almost everyday, there are examples of such unfair coverage of the DAP crisis, designed to exploit the DAP crisis and perpetuate various impressions detrimental to the DAP.  One such example is to be found in The New Straits Times today in its page 4 page lead under the heading "'Liew and Fung can contest in DAP elections'", which reported:

The report then went on to report on the responses of Wee Choo Keong, Liew Ah Kim and Fung Ket Wing, giving the impression that the New Straits Times  was being very fair in their coverage.

Unfortunately, this is a false and fictitious report, for I never said the things that were attributed to me by the New Straits Times report, as it was the DAP National Organising Secretary, Tan Kok Wai, who made those remarks.

DAP National Vice Chairman, Ahmad Nor, Deputy Secretary-General Abdul Muluk Daud, National Organising Secretary Tan Kok Wai, International and NGO Secretary Teresa Kok  and all the reporters from the various mass media present at the press conference can vouch for me that I had never said the words attributed to me by the New Straits Times report today.

It would appear that there are forces at work which are powerful enough not only to ensure a most unfair coverage of the DAP crisis, putting the DAP in the worst possible light, but even to get newspapers to publish false reports to put the words of Tan Kok Wai as having been said by me, to serve the purpose of personally involving me in the case of Wee, Liew and Fung so that they could mount a personal attack against me.

What Wee, Liew and Fung want to do is their business, but I would want to know is  why certain mass media are violating their journalistic ethics by  "fishing in troubled waters" by exploiting the DAP crisis to the extent of publishing false and untruthful reports of what I had purportedly said so that  Wee, Liew and Fung  can  respond to me.

Why is the New Straits Times manufacturing material for Wee, Liew and Fung.  Is this fair, honest and responsible journalism?

Today, Nanyang Siang Pao blacked out my reply to its very nasty and vicious editorial yesterday attacking the DAP entitled "DAP's self-created crisis", denying the DAP the right to reply.

DAP leaders, members and supporters are shocked by the NYSP editorial because its attack on the DAP leaders is  even more ferocious than from our political opponents in the Barisan Nasional, whether UMNO, MCA or Gerakan,  accusing me in particular of being a greater threat to press freedom than the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad when it ended its editorial as follows:

When I said last week that the DAP proposes to commission an independent study into the unfair coverage of the DAP crisis by certain mass media, I was not referring to NYSP or any Chinese newspaper at all.

This is why I am doubly surprised that it is  NYSP rather than certain English and Bahasa Malaysia newspapers which I had meant which had reacted most vehemently, as if certain editorial elements in NYSP are afraid of being exposed if there is such an  independent study.

I had expected NYSP to justify its vicious editorial against the DAP yesterday and explain why it is involved in a campaign to exploit the DAP crisis to try to destroy the DAP to help the Barisan Nasional in the coming general elections or alternatively to publicly  withdraw and apologise for the vicious editorial.

Today's NYSP  give prominent coverage to the allegation by Wee, Liew and Fung about "black hand" in the DAP, with its Page 2  lead headline "Trio wants to expose black hand".

It would appear that NYSP does not find it ridiculous to give currency to allegations that the DAP Secretary-General is the "black hand" in the DAP, although it would definitely regard it as ludicrous to give space to any allegation that Dr.Mahathir Mohamad is the "black hand" in UMNO.

However, the really pertinent question is  who is the "Black Hand" behind certain mass media campaign to exploit the DAP crisis to try to destroy the DAP to help the Barisan Nasional in the coming general elections.

It is now clear that for reasons best known to it, NYSP has declared an all-out war to destroy DAP leaders and the DAP.

On 8th June 1998, the NYSP carried an editorial virtually describing me as a "Pol Pot", reaching my present position through a "heap of skeletons".

I do not know where I have antagonised the NYSP, as it is I who have been much  wronged by NYSP several times.

The DAP's worst crisis in 32 years is is even worse than I had imagined, now that it is clear that there is a campaign by certain powerful mass media to exploit the DAP crisis and destroy the DAP, including the powerful newspaper conglomerate Nanyang Siang Pao.

I really do not know why Nanyang Siang Pao want to declare war on DAP and the DAP leadership. We are in a very weak and vulnerable  position when we have to fight such a powerful  opponent, but the DAP is prepared to face all the consequences as we are not prepared to be intimidated by anyone, however powerful, influential and wealthy they may be.

As NYSP talks so much about its championing of press freedom in its editorial yesterday, let NYSP take a stand on the latest development in the Malaysian mass media world, the forced resignation of Johan Jaffar as group editor-in-chief of the Utusan Melayu Group, under political pressure.

The Singapore Business Times today reported that Johan Jaffar had to quit because of political pressure from Dr. Mahathir, and an  Umno member close to the party leadership said;

"It is better for him to resign before he is asked to leave. Whoever replaces Mr Johan should understand the struggle of Umno -- to serve the president of the party. We cannot have someone with his own agenda."

The Umno member, who asked not to be named, said the Utusan editor-in-chief was seen to be creating divisions between Dr  Mahathir and his deputy, Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

"You can only have one leader. You cannot serve two leaders," he said, adding that Mr Johan had "failed to upkeep the struggle of Umno".

Umno is the major shareholder in Utusan and most directors are party members.

The Singapore Business Times reported that prior to  the Umno General Assembly  last month, Utusan had been highlighting the need  for economic and political reforms to the annoyance of the Umno  leadership, in particular Dr Mahathir.

Utusan also gave prominent front-page coverage to the chaos at Malaysia's new airport which opened two weeks ago.

Let NYSP come out with an editorial on the forced resignation of Johan Jaffar from the point of view of press freedom!


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