Berita Harian yesterday carried the front-page headline "Anwar tidak keracunan" with the secondary lead "Kandungan arsenik lebih rendah daripada paras purata individu sihat" while the Utusan Malaysia’s front-page headline yesterday was "Anwar tidak keracunan arsenik" with the secondary headline "Siasatan awal tiada tanda-tanda jelas - Pengarah HUKM".
Both these Bahasa Malaysia dailies, well-known as the leading Barisan-controlled print media in the country, carried the same front-page stories quoting the National University Hospital director Prof. Dr. Khalid Abdul Kadir as saying that there were no clear signs that Anwar had been poisoned with arsenic.
Dr. Khalid has denied the two newspaper reports and said that Utusan Melaysia and Berita Harian had "sensationalised their headlines which were not at all accurate."
He said that the hospital can only give a report or arrive at a final decision on Anwar’s poisoning case after all laboratory tests had come in.
"What I have said so far is that we still do not know the results of all the tests and we are still waiting for the complete outcome of laboratory tests before issuing any statement or arriving at a final decision," he said in a statement.
Dr Khalid denied that he had ever said as quoted by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian that preliminary investigations by the HUKM found no clear signs of arsenic poisoning in Anwar. He also denied receiving any lab test results that showed no clear sign of arsenic poisoning as reported by the newspapers.
Dr Khalid was being polite when he said that Berita Harian and Utusan Malayasia had "sensationalised their headlines which were not at all accurate".
What Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia had done was not just the sin of "sensationalism" but the even more cardinal sin of falsifying news, which is not the first case of concoction and falsification of news in the history of Barisan-controlled journalism in Malaysia.
The Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia editors should show that they are professionals with honour and resign for the most irresponsible, dishonest and unethical journalism in their front-page headline story yesterday claiming that medical tests showed that Anwar was not suffering from arsenic poisoning.