Zainuddin Maidin bila berdepan dengan wartawan dengan Al Jazeera mengenai isu Perhimpunan Bersih, gagal bukan sahaja menjawab dengan baik malah menunjukkan betapa Menteri Penerangan Malaysia itu perlu diganti dengan Menteri yang lebih jitu dalam berhadapan dengan wartawan. Sikap menuduh dan bercakap “seperti keling karam” ( pepatah untuk menguatkan kenyataan) apabila di soal oleh wartawan Al Jazeera amat memalukan kita rakyat Malaysia.
Sepatutnya Zainuddin Maidin perlu ditegur kerana gagal menunjukkan sikap seorang Menteri yang berwibawa, intelektual dan tidak melatah.
Kenyataan Zainuddin Maidin hanya menampakkan beliau begitu emosional sehingga tidak menampakkan ciri-ciri beliau seorang Menteri. Mungkin tidak keterlaluan sekiranya kita mengatakan bahawa Menteri seperti ini perlu diganti dari terus memalukan Malaysia.
Beliau nampak tidak mempunyai jawapan kepada soalan Al Jazerra dan jawapan yang diberikan hanya untuk memburuk tetapi tidak mahu memberi justifikasi mengenai perhimpunan Bersih yang menuntut pilihan raya yang adil, bukan untuk menuntut diadakan pilihan raya. Mungkin sudah sampai ketika mereka dalam UMNO menegur Zainuddin Maidin dan MUNGKIN SAMPAI MASA ZAINUDDIN MAIDIN digugurkan dari menjawat jawatan Menteri Penerangan.
Zainuddin Maidin makes a fool of himself in interview about the Bersih protest
By RACHEL LEOW
What follows is a transcript of the telephone interview that Malaysia’s Minister of Information Zainuddin Maidin (ZAM) gave Al-Jazeera yesterday, moments after the Bersih memo was delivered to the Royal Palace at the close of the biggest anti-government protest in Malaysia in ten years.
ZAM: ….I commend your journalists trying to project, to exaggerate more than what actually happened. That, that, that, that’s it. We, we are not, the, the — and I, I congratulate your journalists behaving like an actor, that, that’s —
ZAM (interrupts): Ya, I am watching, I hear, [?] …. trying to do it everywhere but in Malaysia people are allowed, to, you know [?] … Police have allowed the procession to go to the Istana Negara, you know, do police, first police, like, they handle them, they [?] them, they … the police don’t, don’t, don’t fire anybody …
AJ: Our correspondent came back to the office, sir, with chemicals in his eyes!
ZAM (speaking over her): … You, you, you, you are here with the idea, you are trying to project, what is your mind, you think that we are Pakistan, we are Burma, we are Myanmar, everything you, you are thinking …
AJ: Well unfortunately when you refuse to let people protest, it does appear so.
ZAM (speaking over her): …Ya, ya, we are not like you, you have early perception, you come here, you want to project us like undemocratic country. This a democratic country!
AJ: So why can’t people protest then, if it’s a democratic country?
ZAM (interjects at “protest then”): Ya, people protest, people then — first they protest, we are allowing protests, and they have demonstrated. But we just trying to disperse them and then later they, you know, disperse, but later our police compromise. They have compromised and allowed them to proceed to Negara. Police, our police have succeeded in handling them gently, right? Why do you report that and you take the opposition, someone from opposition party you ask him to speak, you don’t take from the government, right?
AJ: Why did you not break up these protesters –
ZAM (interrupting): Pardon? Pardon? Pardon?
AJ: Why did you not break up these protests more peacefully?
ZAM: I can’t hear you. I can’t hear you.
AJ: Why did you not break up these protests more peacefully?
ZAM: No we, we are, we, this protest is illegal. We don’t want, this, the, normally … (slight pause, then continues to talk while she interjects)
AJ (interjecting): OK, so let me return to my former question. Why is this protest illegal?
ZAM (babbling on): Ya it’s illegal protest because (AJ: Why?) we have the election in Malaysia. It’s no, no point on having the protest, we are allowing to have every, an election every five years, never fail. We not our like, are not like Myanmar, not like other country. And, and you are helping this. You Al-Jazeera also is helping this, this forces, the, you know, these forces who are not [?], who don’t believe in [?] …
AJ (seems to want to say something, but decides not to): I don’t … many thanks for joining us.
ZAM: I don’t, ya, you, Jazeera, this is, is Al-Jazeera attitude. Right?
(she doesn’t reply. In the background, the chants of the protesters fill the silence)
Points to Note, Objectively
1. ZAM is right that the journalist in question was being overdramatic, if that’s what he means by “behaving like an actor”. For those who haven’t seen the footage, the reporter is ducking ludicrously (and mostly unnecessarily) about the screen with the crowd scattering in the background under water-cannonfire from the police, acting as though he’s being attacked by a swarm of invisible mosquitoes.
2. This is, of course, not the point.
3. ZAM made the connection to Pakistan and Myanmar/Burma himself. Paranoia, methinks.
4. Inconsistencies regarding his claims about democracy and the legality of the protests are manifold. “This is a democratic country,” he insists. “We are allowing protests,” he goes on to say, emphasizing that the police have “allowed” the protesters through to the Istana (Palace), and that this is an indication of their “gentle” handling of the situation. Not half a minute later, he says, “This protest is illegal,” and cannot answer why.
5. Essentially, what he ends up saying is that the protest is illegal because we have elections. This is a very strange claim to make for a protest about elections.
6. With all these inconsistencies, it’s no wonder that he has to fall back finally on the one justified claim he has made, which is that the journalist played up the drama. Note, though, that he goes much further and lambasts the entire Al-Jazeera network for this “attitude”, and for acting in cahoots with the opposition, which is not justified.
7. Finally, his accusation that Al-Jazeera has not interviewed any government official’s side of the story is just too rich. This, from a government that controls all mainstream media and bolsters its authority by only providing its side of the story, is too much. Also, Al-Jazeera is interviewing him, are they not? I don’t see RTM putting Anwar or Lim Kit Siang on air anytime soon.
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