What Can Utusan Do For Harapan




A young Utusan Malaysia factotum recently told me that the Malay daily could do a lot for Harapan. Utusan, he claimed, could spread the Harapan message to their readership and perhaps even give coverage to the DAP. All of this was brought upon by the reality that Utusan is now in the crapper and begging the current regime for a bailout
The recent plea by the Utusan faction of the National Union of Journalists for some benefice by the Bersatu grand poobah is an extremely funny read, considering the tone of their coverage. Before the historic May 9th win, Umno and their proxies were hell-bent on leather attempting to demonise anyone “colluding” with the DAP
I asked him jokingly if Utusan would ever consider apologising to Lim Kit Siang and the DAP, and was surprised that this young man gave me a look as if he was seriously considering it. Think about it. Utusan used to say that – maybe they still do – the DAP was the power behind the throne
So if the DAP is really the power behind the Harapan throne and everyone else in Harapan is just slavishly obeying the DAP, then perhaps Utusan should ask the DAP to bail them out. After all, Malay politicians being beholden to the DAP is an Utusan Malaysia talking point, an Umno talking point, a PAS talking point, an Isma talking point, even a talking point for Dr Zakir Naik

The paper now says that it is sorry for its one-sided reporting. Mind you, I could care less if Utusan’s reporting is one-sided
In "So what if Utusan is anti-DAP?" I argued that Utusan’s claim that Malaysiakini is pro-DAP is about as useful as not acknowledging that Utusan is anti-DAP. By this, I mean that Utusan and Malaysiakini both have their biases, which are ultimately irrelevant so long as the state does not favour one over the other. Since the state does favour Utusan, this leaves Malaysiakini as one of the few 'independent' – even if allegedly pro-opposition – media outlets in the country
Utusan, at one time, was upset because Malaysiakini was not sanctioned for "wild and slanderous" readers comments. I get that Utusan would be upset by comments made by columnists and journalists, but to get upset about readers' comments is the kind of horse manure that would be pushed by their one time masters in a bid to silence dissent, and ironically even considered by a member of the Harapan governmentWhat pisses me off is, when Utusan went after someone like lawyer Rosli Dahlan and had to apologise for its slanderous coverage:“We hereby again, upon request and with the consent and express agreement of lawyer Rosli Dahlan, repeat the contents of the said public apology referred to above and hereby again unconditionally and unreservedly apologise to lawyer Rosli Dahlan for our said untruthful article and we regret the damage that we have caused to him."The attacks against Malaysians - is a "crime" that cannot be just dismissed as partisan politics
"We hope our political differences can be put aside. The mentality of newspapers produced by the company has changed for our survival," claimed the recent open letter, which basically means now that Umno has screwed us, we need a new sugar daddy for which we can do some dirty work
So why doesn’t Utsuan start giving the DAP some positive coverage? A freebie, if you like, until something long term can be worked out. After all, Utusan editors are on record – during a BTN sponsored event – that their role was to spin and lie for the government and that this took money. Unlike many people who do not bother reading Utusan, I pay attention to the propaganda coming out of the paper

It was interesting reading comments from everyone, from the MCA to Kua Kia Soong, who they quoted at length, but conveniently left out the context of their criticisms and the overall big picture politics of someone like Kua. It was – is – fun reading how Utusan always claimed that an outfit like Malaysiakini was out to disrupt the peace and stability of the country, while engaging in the behaviour they accused Malaysiakini of
Utusan claims that like a piece of coal, they could turn into a diamond. Well, you turn coal into a diamond with pressure. So, what kind of pressure should be applied to turn Utusan into a polished diamond? I mean, when you get down to it, it is not a radical shift in identity politics for Utusan to become a Harapan propaganda organ, right
We know Utusan will always spin, lie and slander for their political masters. Would this be something Harapan would be interested in? What do you think the reaction of their readers would be when they suddenly see glowing articles about how the DAP is not the power behind the throne, Malays rights are not in jeopardy, or that Christianity proselytisation is actually a myth
Maybe Utusan thinks that it could be a house organ for the Malay politicians in Harapan. A kind of pressure group which could express things that Malay politicians cannot say? I suppose this works, but this would mean that the remaining Utusan readership is not really about ideology
I know Utusan would never go back to that "pinko" outfit the British accused them of being before their slide into fascism – which is sad because at least PSM would have a platform
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan. - Mkini

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