Mainstream media blackout of the voice of Broga residents objecting to the RM1.5 billion incinerator proof that although Abdullah wants to hear the truth from the people, there is no way for the people to tell him the truth!
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): On Saturday night, with DAP National Publicity Secretary and Selangor State Chairman Ronnie Liu, I attended a protest meeting of the people of Broga against the relocation of the RM1.5 billion mega-incinerator from Kg. Bohol, Puchong to Broga on economic, environmental, health and safety reasons – which saw a full turnout of the Broga residents.
However there was not a single reporter present. I was informed that reporters were invited to the function, but they told the organizers that since the topic was about the siting of the RM1.5 billion mega-incinerator to Broga, there was no point in their attending as the incinerator issue has become a “taboo” subject in the mainstream media and whatever they reported would not see the light of day!
One of the hallmarks of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his first months in office as the new Prime Minister was his pledge for a clean, incorruptible, efficient and people-oriented government which will listen to the truth from the people.
The mainstream media blackout of the voice of the people of Broga, objecting to the RM1.5 billion incinerator, is proof that although Abdullah wants to hear the truth from the people, there is no way for the people to tell him the truth!
It is one more example that although Abdullah is a good, clean and decent leader who wants to “clean house” to end corruption and abuses of power, hear the truth from the people and does not want “apple polishers”, the system which had spawned such abuses and injustices have remained intact. As a result, corruption and abuses of power continues to be very entrenched and the Prime Minister is quite cut off from the ground and could not hear the truth from the people – as illustrated by the mainstream media “blackout” of the voice of the people of Broga, Berenang, Semenyih and Kajang to the relocation of the RM1.5 billion mega-incinerator from Kg Bohol, Puchong to their midst.
DAP calls on Abdullah to institute a public inquiry about the stifling of the free flow of information between the government and the governed, starting with the mainstream media “blackout” of the people’s voice of protest in Broga, Berenang, Semenyih and Kajang against the RM1.5 billion incinerator.
Abdullah should ascertain who was responsible for imposing the mainstream media “blackout” – whether it was the Housing and Local Government Minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, the Minister responsible for the incinerator project or the Selangor State Government.
Most important of all, Abdullah should issue a clear directive to immediately lift the mainstream media blackout of the voice of people objecting to the incinerator project, to demonstrate that he could back up his pledge that he wants to hear the truth from the people with action to create the conditions where the ordinary people could tell him the “truth”, regardless of their position, wealth or status.
He should also identify what are the other “taboo” subjects which have been blacked out by the mainstream media, whether as a result of self-censorship or because of the overt or covert directives of the powers-that-be in the Barisan Nasional government.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman