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Ministry of Propaganda? April 2, 2007

Posted by Tim in Malaysia.
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Lim Kit Siang blogged yesterday about a Bernama report that, in any other country, could have been laughed off as an April Fool’s joke. Here in Malaysia it’s a different story.

Here’s an excerpt of the Bernama article:

ALOR GAJAH, March 31 (Bernama) — The Information Ministry will counter all issues, including personal matters of national, state and local leaders, raised by the Opposition in the run-up to the Machap by-election.

Deputy Minister of Information Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it was the ministry’s responsibility to explain the truth to the voters on issues highlighted so that they would not be swayed by the baseless allegations.

“Personal issues and allegations on certain leaders are disheartening. I advise Machap voters not to be taken in by DAP speakers harping on personal and private matters,” he told reporters after chairing a meeting on the by-election here.

Hey wait a minute – since when do ministries of “Information” take part in politics? The very definition of the word from Dictionary.com goes:

  1. knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news: information concerning a crime.
  2. knowledge gained through study, communication, research, instruction, etc.; factual data: His wealth of general information is amazing.

I think a rebranding exercise is in order. I even found a word that fits perfectly.

As someone commented in LKS’s blog, how about the Defense Ministry? What does it defend?

The Star also ran an article worthy of a “wtf-are-you-kidding-me?” look yesterday:

Datuk Seri Zulkipli Mat Noor has accepted the Government’s decision not to renew his contract as Anti-Corruption Agency director-general, saying other candidates should be given the chance to lead the body more effectively.

“I accept the decision in good faith. I have conducted my responsibility as director-general to my level best,” he said when asked to comment on the move not to renew his contract which ended yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s Office had issued a statement thanking Zulkipli, 57, for his services since being appointed to the post on secondment from the police in April 2001 and subsequently on contract from July 2005.

Zulkipli, who is being investigated by the police for alleged corrupt practises and abuse of power, said the trust placed in him by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, as shown by the renewal of his term three times, was the “highest recognition” for him.

Is it only here where the media portrays in a positive light the discharge of the head of an anti-corruption agency, who is under investigation for corruption?

Meanwhile, the papers are running articles on the 5 mil unregistered voters in the country (an outdated number, it’s actually 4,999,999). Again, it takes four months to process a registration so don’t take too long.

Some Opposition parties are asking for online voting to make it easier for people to vote – and, presumably, to make it easier to claim that the ballots are rigged? Think-lah

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