This is particularly pertinent as Andy Ng, who resigned as the editor of The Sun, has insisted that all the regular checks had been done in pursuing the story. Ng told the Malay Mail yesterday that the newspaper had the story for several weeks and that “checks were done beyond the regular norm”, including speaking to a Deputy Minister and a deputy Press secretary on the matter.
He said: “We knew the seriousness of this story but no one, among those whom we checked with, said we cannot run it.”
If what Ng said is true, and there is no reason to doubt his professional and personal honesty and integrity although he has accepted responsibility for a serious professional lapse, then the Deputy Minister and deputy press secretary who were contacted by The Sun but who did not ask it not to run the story on the alleged plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister should come forward to identify themselves and publicly explain their actions
I understand that The Sun was originally pursuing the story of a plot to topple the Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. The question is how the story ended up on a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.
As Mahathir has said that he is satisfied with the top-level editorial resignations in The Sun, there should be no criminal prosecution of any kind arising from the incident - but a full explanation as to how such a front-page story came to be published by senior and experienced journalists who cannot be accused of being anti-national elements would be useful in understanding the conditions and culture under which Malaysian journalists have to work.