Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shooting down The Star

Despite The Star suspending indefinitely two senior editors earlier this month over the Erykah Badu issue, pressure is mounting for the government to come down harder on the English publication.

Up to yesterday, I still received text messages from some bloggers and reps from several Muslim NGOs voicing out their disappointment that Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein was being 'too lenient' with them.

What else do they want? Star2 senior editor Lim Cheng Hoe and assistant editor Daryl Goh who approved Badu's photo to be published last month, are already on holiday. Its as good as losing the job for them.

Close down The Star? Is this what Perkasa, pro-Umno bloggers and the Muslim NGOs want?

Its editorial boss Wong Chun Wai has replied the 'show cause' letter sent by the Home Ministry. Plans were introduced to enhance the level of understanding among The Star's non-Muslim staff about the 'sensitivities of Islam', including other measures to ensure that such a 'stupid mistake' will not be repeated.

However, as much as the Muslims want others to understand and respect Islam, how many Muslims have made the move to understand and respect other religions? While we want the non-Muslims to identify and 'learn' the Arabic characters for Allah and Muhammad, are we sensitive enough to learn about theirs?

The two non-Muslim editors have been made victims of extreme minds. But are we suppose to blame the non-Muslims when we the Muslims too are not interested to understand the characters of other religions?

While the Muslims were outraged by scattered incidents deemed to insult the religion, the non-Muslims in Malaysia usually have to stage a silent protest when some Bibles and holy books of other religions were subjected to ill-treatment by some 'nasty' Muslims.

Perkasa, the pro-govt Malay NGO has been so loud in demanding stringent action on the Star. The Home Ministry came under tremendous pressure to suspend the newspaper, and worst to the extend of revoking its printing permit or close it down.

The leaders of Perkasa have forgotten that it was The Star who came to their rescue over the 'white ang pow' by coming up with a defensive article that 'the red ang pow ran out on that particular day'.

I am not defending The Star for such an error. The fact that its editorial did not have a specialist to monitor the photo before it goes to print, cannot be accepted. But the fact that other newspapers that made similar or more or less the same mistake as The Star and then got away with only a minor 'show cause' letter by the ministry, made The Star a perfect platform for individual politics.

Sadly, even some Umno leaders rode on the issue by condemning the newspaper as racist and anti-Islam.

Is The Star as such? Being a pro-government newspaper and has shown undivided support for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is it fair to label it as anti-Malays or anti-Islam?

And is it fair to blame Hishamuddin for not imposing a 'death penalty' on The Star? Did the duo or bosses at The Star simply committed the mistake for some reasons? Personally, I don't see any ill-intention here as they know very well the consequences awaiting them.

If I am in Hisham's shoes, firstly I will take up the case as a serious. Issue a show cause letter to The Star, get them to explain the mistake and the course of action to be taken in order to avoid its recurrence.

However, after series of similar errors, The Star deserves to be suspended but such a decision will not only affect the life of its 4,000 staff but will also subject the government to the Opposition's criticism.

Secondly, Hisham could be weighing the political impact on Barisan Nasional should The Star is punished severely. As the newspaper belongs to MCA, the BN component party will not be at ease should the publication is suspended. In BN, even Umno needs MCA and this means, anything that shaken MCA interest will have a direct impact on the ruling party.

And finally, Hisham could also use the proper channels to defuse public anger and outrage over the issue. The Malays and Muslims need to be told that despite the error was unintentionally committed by the respective Star personnel, the ministry has taken a fair action against it.

But still, we can't avoid those extreme minds from mind-boggling Najib or Hisham. In a multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia, we need moderate minds to bring our rakyat together.

The Malays in Umno must be aware that Umno cannot form the government by its own without MCA, MIC and other component parties. With the Opposition onslaught gets more mean, are we suppose to sacrifice the hope of millions of voters for BN to win the next general election, just to boost our ego for things like this?

Enough lar!


yellow river said...


a fair comment. i appreciate it.

it was an unintentional mistake. star got showcause already.

i think we should forgive and forget it.

as a muslim myself, i take it as a mistake committed by those who dont know anything about islam.

el-bimbo said...

why the star become the attention here?

when utusan, malay mail and other publications made similar mistakes, nobody go shouting around for the govt to punish them severely.


because star belongs to MCA?

Anonymous said...

Fuck off with your 20cents bullshit. First sort utusan out then you talk. 3rd grade du,no scumbag.

Anonymous said...


Sapa Cakap UMNO perlukan MCA, MIC dan berpuluh lagi one man party yang mengambil kesempatan dari UMNO?

STAR Patut di tutup terus....

NMN said...

This is not about politics; this is about religious principles. There should be no compromise! Otherwise we will be just like the opposition who are willing to sacrifice their religion for the sake of party/political mileage.

Action must be taken accordingly or else this issue will keep on repeating. After all, bear in mind that Malaysia is a MOSLEM country.

Good night.

Anonymous said...

As always, a fair and sensible article from you, mate!

If more Muslims (and non-Muslims)are more broad-minded like you, the political landscape would not be the way it is now. It would be much better.

Anonymous said...

utusan malaysia dan media prima belongs to the govt, right?

when utusan made that horrible mistake, it was only a warning given by the home ministry.

penangan said...

salam tn,

saya tidak menyebelahi mana2 pihak tetapi kesilapan sebegini bukan sekali dua berlaku. bukan saja the star, malah akhbar lain juga.

hebat macam mana pun, kita pasti akan buat silap dan saya rasa apa yang berlaku pada the star tempoh hari memang tidak disengajakan.

sebagai negara berbilang kaum, memang sukar untuk menjaga sensitiviti semua bangsa.

cuma kita perlu lebih berhati-hati.

tindakan sudah pun diambil ke atas the star manakala akhbar itu sudah memberi penjelasan. kita perlu berhenti mempolemikkannya demi kebaikan bersama...

a blogger too said...


everybody should stop politicising the issue.

for the sake of unity and in ensuring a good result for BN in the next election, we should instead focus more on strategy to neutralise the opposition.

cindy lim said...


enough is enough.

why must perkasa continue to sharpen its knives on the star?

dont they realise that many malays are employed by the paper?

mistake is a mistake and the star had no ill intention towards the malays and muslims.

u think they really want to commit that error?

Anonymous said...


star sengaja nak provoke org melayu!

tauke lim said...

what's wrong with u people lately?

this small thing also want to fight ka?

star didnt mean to insult anybody, esp the muslims. it was a mistake.

that also u dont know aaar!!!

lurus bendul said...


tak perlu diperpanjangkan lagi isu ini.

kita semua dalam BN perlu memperkukuhkan kerjasama bagi menghadapi pilihanraya umum yang bakal menjelang.

kesilapan star tidak disengajakan dan ia tidak harus dipolitikkan oleh mana2 pihak

eril said...

to NMN,

yes, this is a muslim country.

so, the muslims can do anything here?

what a pity extremist u are!

Anonymous said...

inilah masalahnya sebuah negara majmuk.

sikit hal, dah melenting!

potter said...

to anon 8.44,

so, umno doesnt need mca, mic and others.


let's see if mca leaves bn...

u and your racism!

Anonymous said...

i thought pak lah era was worst.

under najib, things start to crumble!

Anonymous said...

close the star?

u must be kidding.

try la... and see...

Anonymous said...

Today close Star, tomoro close Utusan, next day close NST.

Good, la. Only left the opposition newspapers like Harakah, Rocket, Keadilan for the rakyat to read.

Everyone go vote Perkasa next election, la.

fizi said...

I would agree with you. Yes they made the mistake. They have done the explanation and those responsible taken the repercussion.

But I need to ask all Muslims (including me) one question. When ALLAH and Muhammad (saw) being ridiculed, we get super duper angry, but when the ppl ridicule Jesus or Isa (as), we don't seem to care. Prophet Isa (as) is Ulul Azmi, why are we just playing along?

Anonymous said...

Star berani sebab Minister tu selalunya beri amaran je ...

Minister sorang ni yg patut diberhentikan supaya akhbar dan NGO macam Star akan lebih berhati-hati ... takut-takut kena denda atau ... tutup (ini tak mungkin berlaku)

Anonymous said...

i think the owner of star publications should look into this and restructure so that the newspaper is more responsible in future.

Anonymous said...

why shoot the star.

let's shoot everybody!

i dont like hisham said...

home ministry only protects utusan and media prima.

the star is seen as an opposition paper for giving a small news space to them.

is it wrong?