Malaysia political environment becomes so flabbergasted and annoying with the news published in Sarawak Report, which is so unfavorable towards the ruling government under Najib’s administration. Stories on the malpractices and mismanagement of the top government level had given political leverage to the opposition parties to topple Najib’s administration in the coming election.
This is the prize we get from “ freedom” – a US made freedom of the press called the Fourth Estate. With the existence of the new media such as the internet which gives birth to the public to express their opinions and making news of their own, has created a bizarre. Does the Sarawak Report exercise its freedom in Malaysia or is it a kind of political intervention as to create public opinion against the Barisan Nasional.
Today, a foreign based website, Sarawak Report, has exposed all sorts of news about Malaysia which formed a perception that the Malaysian government is crooked. Taking legal action against the Sarawak Report would not do any better, because the damage has been done. Furthermore, what the law says “ innocent before proven guilty” is not feasible. The masses tend to prosecute one to be guilty according to his perception, without proving one is guilty. Why, because the Sarawak Report says so.
The Sarawak Report is a foreign website that aspires to find the truth in the Malaysian political affairs – the findings of which are not necessarily true and yet it becomes the ace of the guild. Perhaps, this view is too naïve but it may give a fruitful debate or open up a new fresh idea that the Sarawak Report becomes a trusted medium by the opposition parties and the foe of the Prime Minister Najib. It is about “investigative journalism” or freedom of the press”. So the question is this. What is the most single phenomenon of a criminal act, if one gets caught? He or she will get a trial for his conviction. For the individual who is caught, usually the police will get him to the court and the judge will determine whether he will be released, bail out or cleared of the charges after a long proceeding.
Only, in that is none happened in journalism or particular in “investigative news media”. A journalist carries out the investigation by collecting data, putting pieces together, and performing a multitude of chores like finding a needle in the haystack. Ironically, when all information is gathered, he did not report to the police or charge the person or group who are suspected to do the crime. What the journalist does is to publish the report for public knowledge after receiving the blessing from the editor.
It is a nature of investigative journalism which is so glamorous, challenging and rewarding that encourages a journalist to do an investigation. This tradition is born out of the US freedom of the press. As a result, investigative journalism becomes a popular culture and an epitome for the majority of American journalists. We may note that not all investigative reports are true. Some are fabricated stories and only a few had succeeded to create history in American journalism, for example the work of Carl Berstein and Bob Woodward that bring down the American President Richard Nixon, in the Watergate Scandal.
A foreign based website, Sarawak Report has published so many stories about the corrupt leaders in Malaysia. The biggest is the 1MDB scandal, Riza Aziz and Red Granite Picture, Musa Aman Timber Corruption, FBC Media Scandals and the latest story from the Sarawak Report is about the Malaysian lawyer Shafee Abdullah received 9.5 million from Najib in the Anwar’s sodomy case. All reports implicate Najib as a corrupted leader. Thus far none of the accused have filing defamation suit against the editor-in-chief of Sarawak Report, except the PAS president’s lawsuit against Clare of her false accusation.
Is the website credible? One of its stories, Shafee received 9.5 million from Najib is a fictitious story. The former IGP, Tan Sri Musa Hassan questioned the credibility of the Sarawak Report pertaining to the topic. Musa said, the Malaysiakini’s report on 15 August 2015 says Najib’s AmBank account was closed on 30 August 2013, so how could the Sarawak Report claim that the money transaction was performed in September 2013. Hence, not all of her accounts are precise and true.
There is a single important reason as to why the accusers do not bother so much about Ms. Brown’s revelation. Ms. Brown is a British-born journalist who became recognized after the decease of her American informant, Ross Boyert in a Los Angeles Hotel room. Since then Ms. Brown has become the editor-in-chief and spoke person for Sarawak Report. As to why she was so concern about Malaysia’s affair, no one can answer that particular inquiry. But the truth is she’s not of any interest to the country.
Is she a fighter for humanity, or is she expecting to be a modern mother Theresa of Malaysia of the 21st century who preach not by the bible but by sensational findings through the investigative piece? If this is what she intends to do, she has put a shame to American journalism or in general western investigative journalism and tradition.
The Sarawak Report’s inaccurate reporting cannot be taken lightly, because it may upset the whole system of governance in Malaysia. The reports portray the “bad” image of Malaysian government. What is more, when the enemy of the Barisan Nasional picked up the issue and churn propaganda news out of it. The former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad had filed a court case against Najib of the 1MDB scandal that is based on the Sarawak Report and other politicians also do the same thing and yet none of the conviction against Najib so far, is successful. Just recently, Anwar Ibrahim called upon the authority to conduct an immediate investigation on Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah after the Sarawak Report revealed that Najib was transferring RM9.5 million into Shafie’s account through the SRC International. Let us wait and see the result of the investigation. Who will be at fault?
If Najib is still free without him being taken to the court, then what else can we say – he is not guilty of any crime or he has been defamed? Or maybe he is a wizard and he can always use his abracadabra to escape from his wrongdoings?
Too many reports of Najib’s “bad governance” has been exposed by the Sarawak Report but the authority and the public could hardly see enough facts to implicate Najib. If Najib’s government fails to retain its power in the PRU14, just as a result of the issues in the Sarawak Report – exposure of insufficient fact and evidences, or news distortion here and there, therefore, the advantage that the oppositions have, as to win the PRU14 is not so much because the people trust the party but the Sarawak Report’s sensational issues that are very successful in changing the perception of the voters – that is the reality of the oppositions’ triumph. We should always bear in mind that investigative journalism or dissenting journalism is not a sensational journalism, its core business is “reporting the facts and evidence”. Or “to find the truth within the truth”. Does this reflect the Sarawak Report?
Therefore, we can say for sure that the Sarawak Report just wants to denigrate the image of the nation.(Putrajaya Insider)