Kit Siang: Zam 'minister of misinformation'

Yoges Palaniappan (Mkini)
Nov 13, 07

Minister of Misinformation – this was the new title conferred upon Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin by Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The issue started when Deputy Information Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (photo) answered a supplementary question posed by Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom).
Raime had asked Ahmad Zahid what action would be taken against the international media for their wide coverage on the mammoth rally held over the weekend.
The rally, organised by the opposition-backed Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), saw some 40,000 people taking to the streets and the submission of a memorandum to the King.
“The media gave a very biased coverage of the illegal gathering until it indicated that our country is in a big mess.
“How would (state-owned television station) RTM straighten this out? And what kind of action would be taken against the media that reported inaccurate facts?” asked Raime.
Responding, Ahmad Zahid (BN-Bagan Datok) said RTM, in its coverage of the rally, showed that demonstrations must not be used as a medium to gain people’s support.
“Even though RTM used the gathering as its lead story, we used the story to send across the message that demonstrations are not the right way to gain support from the public. This is because demonstrations are very undemocratic and could ruin our country’s image and drive away foreign investors,” he said.
‘Zam was wrong’
At this point, Lim (DAP-Ipoh Timur) stood up and said that Zainuddin had been wrong in accusing Al Jazeera, the international media mentioned by Raime, of alleged lopsided coverage.
Newspapers reported that Zainuddin, who is popularly known as Zam, had described the satellite television station’s coverage as unfair and confusing to people living overseas.
Lim said instead of pointing the finger at others, the ministry should look at its own coverage of the gathering.
“RTM is guilty of not reporting the facts. In fact, it did not even dare to give the exact number of people who had gathered on that day,” he said.
“It is unfair to say that Al Jazeera had conspired with the opposition. The truth is, RTM had conspired with Barisan Nasional to report negatively. And the order was given by the information minister (Zainuddin), who is the minister of misinformation,” he added.
Ahmad Zahid then urged Lim to retract his remark and this led to a shouting match between opposition and BN MPs.
However, Lim not only refused to withdraw his statement, but also called Ahmad Zahid the ‘deputy minister of misinformation’.