“5kg of rice and mutton curry can resolve Indian problems?”

KUALA LUMPUR, 22 February: The rhetorical question “5kg of rice and mutton curry can resolve Indian problems?” has inflamed the ire of a group.

Upset with an article allegedly ridiculing the People’s Progressive Party for providing free food to gain support, a 60-strong group of party members led by President M. Kayveas stormed the office of Tamil language daily Malaysia Nanban in Jalan Ipoh yesterday, resulting in a scuffle with a reporter claiming he was assaulted by the group.

According to Malaysiakini, a Malaysia Nanban reporter LK Raj claimed that he was punched five times, resulting in injuries to his head, abdomen and right leg. The reporter also said he received a death threat from one of the assailants, although he was not the writer of the allegedly offensive article. Raj expressed fear for his safety since his identity has been exposed in the press.

The members, some clad in blue t-shirts with a 1Malaysia logo, had showed up in the newspaper office to express dissatisfaction regarding an article titled  ‘Evukanai’ (missile) published on 20 February contained the following lines:

“Being part of the ruling coalition, PPP at times is seen as supportive of MIC. PPP only believes in giving empty promises to Indians but has no real intentions to bring permanent solution to their problems. This party is only active during elections.

One of their common tactic to attract voters is providing free mutton briyani. This is the only party that uses this tactic of giving free food to attract support. Kayveas himself is a leader who belittles the Indian community that they will vote for free food,” the article was translated as saying.

Kayveas later reportedly apologised for the group’s actions yesterday.

“If unhappy, sue the newspaper”

DAP MP for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo described the situation as “unacceptable” and pointed out that the members should have sought legal avenues to address their dissatisfaction instead of taking matters into their own hands.

Gobind, who is DAP Legal Bureau Chief, said that according to the law those offended by newspaper reports can seek a retraction, publish a rebuttal, or sue the newspaper if necessary. He said the dissatisfied party could also lodge a police report and seek criminal prosecution.

“Journalists must be reassured of their safety when carrying out their duties. We simply cannot have a situation where persons who are unhappy with reports are allowed to ambush or assault the reporters concerned,” he said.

Gobind called on the government to take action against those involved in yesterday’s Malaysia Nanban ambush, stressing that allowing such incidents to go unpunished would encourage further aggression against members of the press.
Meanwhile, DAP Vice-Chairman M. Kulasegaran visited the Malaysia Nanban office today to express solidarity and support. Kulasegaran said that the incident was “uncalled for” and urged the police to take action on the incident.

Journalists’ safety on the line

In recent years journalists’ safety have come under question after several journalists were arrested or assaulted in connection with their jobs, notably the Bersih beatings of journalists and a 2010 incident where a journalist was briefly held under the Internal Security Act “for her own safety”.

In January this year, a police assistant commissioner was reported as saying that media tags “would not guarantee the safety of police” during the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People’s Uprising) rally.

In the latest 2013 World Press Freedom Index by media freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, Malaysia was ranked a dismal 145th out of 179 countries, its worst ever showing in the poll. This put the country behind Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia and Afghanistan in media freedom ranking.

Newspaper ownership is often linked to the ruling party in Malaysia, where press freedom is tightly controlled by government restrictions such as licensing, censorship and laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act.

Tamil dailies linked to ruling party?

There are five Tamil dailies serving the 100,000 Tamil newspaper readership market. These are Tamil Nesan, Malaysia Nanban, Makkal Osai, Thina Kural, and newcomer Naam Naadu. Malaysian Nanban is in the hands of the family of the late Sikandar Batcha (former Kimma president).

Tamil Nesan is owned by ex-MIC chief S Samy Vellu, while Makkal Osai is controlled by former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam. Thina Kural run by the family of the late Tamil newspaper editor Athi Kumanan, while new kid on the block Naam Naadu is linked to Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) president Kenneth Eswaran.

Meanwhile, Dato’ V.Rameswaran, President of Persatuan Kebajikan dan Social Gemilang (NGO) was reported by the Kuala Lumpur Post as criticising Kayveas’ “ill-mannered attitude” yesterday. Rameswaran said that Kayveas should have instead protested against Sinar Harian for publishing an article written by Ridhuan Tee insulting Hindus in Malaysia.

“Kayveas as a leader should have stood up for his community but unfortunately he stayed in silence while Hindus as well as non-Hindus were furious over the article. Why didn’t he confront the Sinar Harian demanding for an explanation and apology?” Rameswaran asked. -The Rocket

2 comments on ““5kg of rice and mutton curry can resolve Indian problems?”

  1. Pingback: Can 5kg of rice and Mutton curry resolve Malaysia Indian problems? | Berita Harian Terkini News Malaysia Review Blogezine™ Ternow Politik Gossip Artis Malaysia

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