Malaysiakini’s raison d’etre remains mystery

Malaysiakini’s raison d’etre remains mystery.

Ostrich burying head in sand, proverbial three monkeys, not way forward.


The people have a right to exercise free speech on matters of public concern and public interest.

The people have the right of reply.

The media, as the 4th Estate, should be free and fair. It’s duty-bound to serve the public by covering matters of public concern and public interest and providing the right of reply.

It should not exercise self-censorship and censorship under the guise of “community standards”, block email addresses and ban posting by subscribers.

The people have a right to take to the street especially if the gov’t closes the door to dialogue. Such street protests may be infiltrated by agent provocateurs.

Terrorism happens when there are too many laws, where a gov’t can’t be changed by elections, and where a dictatorship is supported by a foreign gov’t like the US, for example. In this case, the foreign gov’t will be attacked.

It has been the policy of successive US gov’ts to support Opposition and NGOs worldwide, where gov’ts don’t change or don’t change regularly, while doing business with the gov’t of the day.

Terence Netto and I are in fact related by marriage. Our relatives in particular have been asking why I was banned by malaysiakini.

It’s the talk of the town among Malayalee in Malaya, Singapore and even overseas.

I don’t know how they got the news.

In any case, I merely told them to get the story from Terence. Anything he tells them is okay with me. I don’t want to know what he’s telling them.

I don’t think that my last two para comments on two pieces by Terence and Phlip Rodrigues, whom I love very much, can be considered as falling within the definition of personal attacks as mentioned in malaysiakini’s commenting terms.

Malaysiakini’s commenting terms are not law. Community standards, not being based on customary practices, have no force of law.

Besides, the Constitution enshrines free speech.

It’s not possible to claim prerogative and discretionary powers in this matter especially when malaysiakini violates even its own commenting terms by denying the right of reply on the grounds that it receives too many emails to consider for uploading.

In cases, the court first asks, “did you get the right of reply?”

I can concede that malaysiakini may be receiving too many emails and, if so, agree that it may deserve the benefit of the doubt on the matter.

This is where malaysiakini’s BS falls apart. I am sure, based on logic and extrapolation, that the website hardly receives any right of reply emails which connect the dots. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. I don’t see any right of reply emails which connect the dots being uploaded in malaysiakini.

Stories which deny the right of reply can only be considered news manufacturing a.k.a. judge jury hangmen fake news. The readers can’t be pawned off by self-claimed fact-checking. Let there be public debate and the truth will emerge.

Don’t exercise self-censorship and censorship. That’s the top down communist control freak mindset at work.

Not every Tom, Dick and Harry can connect the dots. By the way, why are Tom, Dick and Harry banned by malaysiakini’s commenting terms?

How can Steven Gan in all good conscience say, in an email, that my contributions will not be uploaded until I pay half the fees that lawyer Rakhbir Singh has billed malaysiakini? This is a violation of law. It’s not a novel development in law a la Gan which can be declared as law by the court.

At the same, in a contradiction in terms, malaysiakini a la Gan wants a big discount on the other half of the Bill. I informed Rakhbir who said that under the law, I was not responsible for any portion of what he billed malaysiakini.

In a contradiction in terms, my four or five Articles on the Sabah RCI were uploaded despite myself being blacklisted by Gan, if not malaysiakini.

Gan warned sub-editors after my Article was once uploaded, i.e. some time after the Sabah RCI pieces, and another removed after uploading, that he would not pay if my Articles were uploaded by them. This explains why my email address remains blocked by malaysiakini. The website sends a automated response when it receives emails. In my case, I don’t receive any.

I was not paid for my last Article emailed together with that which was removed. Normally, I have to invoice at the end of the month. I didn’t invoice in this case because of what Gan told the sub-editors. I was paid for the earlier Sabah RCI Articles.

After the incident where my 2nd Article was removed after uploading, the 1st Article being left alone, Gan emailed me to say that “the Editors” have complained that I have been going around “badmouthing” malaysiakini.

This is the guilty conscience at work.

In law, those who accuse must prove it. It’s not for the accused to prove innocence.

Gan promised to check with “the Editors” and get back to me on whether they agree to upload my Articles again.

He has failed to do so. He should keep his promise without being reminded. I didn’t remind him on his janji di capati.

Who are these mysterious “Editors”? There’s no such thing. I am sure it was a fairy tale.

Alternatively, “badmouthing” may mean my “wet behind the ears” remark to Andrew Ong. That doesn’t mean I was “badmouthing” malaysiakini. Siapa makan cili dia rasa pedas!

In fact, one university professor claimed that Premesh Chandran has been “badmouthing” me. I wrote to Prem about it. He replied denying knowing the Professor and asked for his picture. I am not keeping the Professor’s picture in my pocket.

Other readers have also written to my blog to claim that Prem goes around “badmouthing” me.

I mentioned this in a blog piece.

To this day, malaysiakini didn’t pay Rakhbir even one sen. I stand corrected. For the record, Rakhbir didn’t tell me so far that he has been paid anything by malaysiakini.

The lawyer billed malaysiakini, not me.

Also, it was malaysiakini which engaged his services after he was recommended by PKR Sabah Chief Christina Liew. An earlier lawyer she recommended wanted RM200K. I didn’t even bother to advise malaysiakini on the lawyer. Rakhbir charged only a fraction.

If I was in court alone, I need no lawyer.

As Rakhbir himself conceded, “I am better than any lawyer because they can’t write like me”.

He was partly echoing what law schools teach, “think like a lawyer and write like a journalist”.

I beg to differ. Thinking like a lawyer does not win cases. Most lawyers mistake the letter of the law as the sum total of the rule of law.

I think like a judge and write like a journalist.

I have gone from the LLB Programme to being a jurist after I realised that AG Tommy Thomas was right . . . there were no jurists in Malaysia.

Being a jurist is still work in progress. I also believe that there are no constitutional experts in Malaysia despite media claims. There’s no money in the field.

Rakhbir himself believes in thinking like a judge. He agrees that he can’t write like me. So, he falls back on cross examination. He’s very good at that. He also has the ability to pick out the one real point that matters.

Malaysiakini should take note on Rakhbir. Read N. H. Chan’s “Judging the Judges” on “the three essential qualities of a great advocate”.

Malaysiakini has a legal defence fund built up from public donations. Rakhbir can be paid from the Fund.

Again, Rakhbir is a highly skilled lawyer. Malaysiakini can use him but don’t expect pro bono. Gan said lawyers in KL handle malaysiakini cases pro bono. If it’s not public litigation, no lawyer will do pro bono.

Malaysiakini’s BOD gave a letter to the High Court to state that I was not the Author of an “errant” Article mentioned in a defamation suit although it was under my byline.

This was a strange case. We won when Judge David Wong struck out the case after Rakhbir “picked out the one real point that matters” and cited the other side for contempt in FB as the matter was subjudice.

Earlier, the judge asked for submissions on the contempt issue.

The other side, privately confessing they feared me and not the judge, quickly withdrew the case to escape being cited for contempt.

Courts are normally very reluctant to act, if at all the matter arises, on subjudice and contempt of court.

I covered at least 15 cases presided over by Judge David Wong for malaysiakini.

Before the case began, the Judge suggested that Steven Gan and I go for coffee and come back in two hours as he had several case mentions before him.

Gan was not happy and claimed that Rakhbir was taking instructions from me and not him. I had all along been dealing with the lawyer on behalf of malaysiakini. Gan whined and moaned that he had already agreed with the other side to settle out of court. He preferred to apologise, literally grovel, withdraw the errant Article and promise never to repeat the alleged defamation.

Rakhbir was mystified.

No court will say that I am not staff. I was not paid EPF and Socso by malaysiakini. That’s a violation of law. Malaysiakini can ask the two statutory bodies to advise on the matter.

A contract of service, under the law, can be verbal, oral, expressed or implied. Also, the degree of control — a principle in law — applies.

I had an email from Gan inviting me to write for malaysiakini as Sabah correspondent. I was described as Sabah correspondent below my Articles.

Away from the digression, did Terence and Rodrigues complain about me? If not, why was I banned from posting comments below stories?

I was banned by malaysiakini within seconds of my comment posted on Netto’s “ventilation of ignorance” piece on Malay citizenship.

Why are these two gentlemen allowed to literally run amok in malaysiakini while I remain blacklisted on uploading and now, to add insult to injury, banned as well from posting comments on stories?

My focus was on language as used by Terence — don’t tell me that it’s English — and their failure to connect the dots as required in their so-called op-eds. I have been complaining about Terence’s English since our days in Nst. How can anyone be allowed to do this to any language? It’s first degree murder!

Many subscribers routinely post complaints about Terence’s English. I am sure that no one has been accused of launching personal attacks on him and banned from posting comments in malaysiakini.

Under the law, there can be no discrimination. Article 8.

Gan himself appealed to me, once, to “have a word with Terence on his English”. He asked me to tell him to tone down his language. “I tried telling him,” disclosed Gan in conceding defeat.

Terence responded by telling Gan, “that’s the way I write. I will send my Articles to you. Only you must sub-edit them”.

Malaysiakini should demand Terence’s first draft and pass that to the sub-editors. He goes through many drafts with the dictionary and thesaurus by his side, polishing and re-polishing his pieces, like a demon possessed, working himself up to feverish heights and ridiculous lengths. He has a list of words jotted down from what others write. He refers to this list of bombastic words whenever he writes.

Both the above gentlemen need critics like me.

Malaysiakini’s commenting mechanism, for example, has an automatic detection mechanism which prevents posting of certain material.

Yet, it allegedly committed contempt of court because the automatic detection mechanism definately excludes contempt of court and subjudice. This is not rocket science.

If the AG knew how the commenting mechanism really works, malaysiakini would have to apologise, purge the contempt and promise never to repeat it.

Fortunately for malaysiakini, the AG did not ask me to advise him on how its commenting mechanism really works and how the website in fact, in a contradiction in terms and discrimination in law, even violates its own terms when it suits its convenience. I have no intention of offering unsolicited advice to the AG.

Since the Federal court case, malaysiakini routinely disables the commenting mechanism for many court stories “based on legal advice”.

The so-called legal advice often does not make sense.

Legal advice is just opinion, it’s not law. Only the court can declare law.

Many people, claiming to be malaysiakini staff, keeping sending derogatory comments to my blog. Based on the content, these are no professionals. They lack skills and even common sense.

Some even praise Gan as a Great Man and malaysiakini literally as “God’s gift to Malaysia” doing a lot for the country unlike my “small pathetic blog” “which no one cares to read”. “No one cares to read” but these people, purportedly malaysiakini staffers, read it.

What makes them think that their journalism degrees will do the work for them?

If the comments by the purportedly malaysiakini staffers are from the security guards, office boys, despatch boys, drivers, kitchen help, tea ladies, gardeners, sweepers, toilet cleaners and trainees at malaysiakini, they can be ignored.

My “Malaysia not tanah Melayu” blog piece gets hits daily although I wrote it months ago. It has already chalked up nearly 100K hits. I am sure this piece will continue to generate hits since the issue remains controversial and comes up all the time.

No one in malaysiakini is capable of writing such a piece because they have a congenital inability to connect the dots.

My “If I am Agong . . .” series continues to generate hits daily ever since I rebutted the Istana Negara statement on “The Royal Coup” op-ed in The Guardian. My comment on the Istana Negara statement has crossed the 80K mark.

I pointed out that the Istana, by contradicting itself in the response to the op-ed, in fact agreed with The Guardian that it WAS a “Royal Coup”.

Again, no one in malaysiakini is capable of writing such a piece because they have a congenital inability to connect the dots.

Malaysiakini can only compile known facts and pass that off as Opinion. These are not op-eds but newsfeatures i.e. a very low skill area.

Malaysiakini can’t even structure news stories. The inverted pyramid format, with supporting facts stacked below, is missing.

Instead, some skimpy news details are overwhelmed by a lot of copy pasting from previous stories to get length.

It’s not length that makes a news story but substance. There should be a strong news angle and supporting details. The format should be legal.

Instead, we read what we read in malaysiakini.

Many subscribers post complaints and threaten not to renew their subscription. These people, although laymen, seem to be better journalists than the pathetic malaysiakini staffers, purportedly, who keep sending derogatory comments to my blog.

These comments include from MK, SG and Gan, among others.

I recall that one purported malaysiakini staffer came forward to deny that she had anything to do with a derogatory comment and went on to call me a dirty sociopath, pervert and slanderer.

I have reasons to suspect that many derogatory comments may also be from those masquerading as malaysiakini staffers and fishing in troubled waters.

Malaysiakini does not process press statements to get the news angle and generate right of reply responses.

Instead, subscribers are pawned off with MP Speaks, Adun Speaks — incredibly lazy approaches — or the material is dumped under Letters even when they are not from nobodies.

It’s kinder not to comment on Your Say and other BS approaches which could be better.

Again, the media being the 4th Estate can only serve the people if it remembers that it’s duty-bound to pursue matters of public concern and public interest.

However, we see no investigative journalism pieces initiated by malaysiakini, no connecting the dots pieces, and not even decent news stories.

I don’t want to touch on the grammar and sub-editing. That’s the pits as evident from complaints posted by subscribers.

Don’t tell me that other websites are worse.

Many other websites are run by people who are from other fields like advertising and the like.

Professionals can’t win by arguing with non-professionals. The latter will beat you with their stupidity by degenerating into rhetoric and polemics based on the ventilation of ignorance. Thanks


Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

One thought on “Malaysiakini’s raison d’etre remains mystery”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: