Former Group Editor of the New Straits Times Press (NSTP), Datuk A. Kadir Jasin theorised that the missing MAS flight MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board had no intention of landing in Beijing. “The fact that the plane had made an unauthorised turn and headed to an unknown destination in the south Indian Ocean speaks for itself.”
Datuk Kadir Jasin was the guest speaker at Institut Darul Ridzuan’s (IDR) Intellectual Discourse held at the banquet hall of the Perak State Secretariat Building, Ipoh recently. Interestingly, the topic of the discourse was, “Mangsa Ke-240 MH370 – Media” (Media the 240th victim of MH370). It could not have been more appropriate as the subject for discussion was on the media, meaning local media, and to dissect the subject matter was none other than a man well-versed in the intricacies of Malaysian media, be it print or electronic.
Although the medium of instruction was in the national language, Kadir did well to articulate his points based on ten questions posed to him regarding MH370 by IDR. However, he was literally missing the forest for the trees as he took pains to explain why the plane went missing rather than addressing the subject on media being the 240th victim of the tragedy.
The 300-odd audience, consisting mainly of government officials, members of non-governmental organisations and media representatives from the local news bureaus, were more interested in knowing what was not in public domain – the untold stories of MH370 and whether the government was withholding information, as is widely believed.
It took none other than the scribe from Ipoh Echo to point out this glaring discrepancy in delivery. Kadir made amends by alluding to the many draconian laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Sedition Act put in place by the government to ensure that the country’s news agencies remain compliant and submissive.
“These laws are enacted for a reason,” he said. In the aftermath of MH370 Kadir felt that there was a need to relax the laws and to provide space for the local media to progress. “I feel that’s the only wise thing to do,” he reasoned.
Coming from someone who was once a spokesman for the ruling coalition and a close associate of former long-serving Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his acknowledgement was his saving grace. The uncompromising few felt relieved that the seasoned journalist and blogger, who won the coveted ‘Tokoh Wartawan Negara 2011’ award, had finally said his piece although it was too little too late.