Monday, April 27, 2009
Malaysia, The Centre Of Universe
When one listens to our leaders , he or she can be forgiven for assuming that Malaysia is the centre of this universe. Read this article by Jonathan Kent which appeared in Malaysiakini.
I refer to the Malaysiakini report There's a plot to topple PM: Rais.
Though I hold Foreign Affairs Minister Rais Yatim in considerable esteem, I feel bound to disabuse him of the notion that there is an international media conspiracy to topple the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
I must point out the sad but unavoidable fact that almost nobody in the international media gives a fig for Malaysia.
Having reported for more than five years on the country, I know from bitter experience that it was a constant battle to interest any editor in the place.
The idea that they have either the time or the interest to plot anything other than a beach holiday in Malaysia is, I am afraid, misguided.
There is a market for funny Malaysian animal stories - so photos of a python dying after eating too many goats will find a market along with a couple of lines of copy.
Important Malaysians who should know better saying silly things also gets attention and a few laughs.
However, as far as everyday news about Malaysia is concerned I am afraid that the only real foreign market is Singapore - and Singaporeans are only interested because very little that could be called newsworthy happens in Singapore.
If Najib is attracting unwanted international media attention it is probably because it is really rather unusual for a head of government to find himself linked to the brutal murder of an attractive young woman or to huge and questionable commission payments for the purchase of armaments.
In the absence of hard facts, the story there is in large measure not so much Najib's guilt or innocence, something which few international journalists feel qualified to judge, but the fact that so many Malaysians seem to be disposed to believe the heinous allegations leveled at their prime minister.
That, in turn, is in no small part a reflection of the fact that there is now no institution in Malaysia sufficiently independent, impartial and respected to authoritatively clear Najib's name.
That is a tragedy both for Najib and for Malaysia