Friday, August 14, 2015
Utusan Editor: We are not like Harakah
Utusan editor: We are not like Harakah
(Malaysiakini 14 Ogos 2015)
Utusan Malaysia is not a party mouthpiece like PAS’ Harakah, that it could not criticise its leaders, said its editor Ku Seman Ku Hussain. Instead, he said Utusan acts as a newspaper and has the freedom to criticise leaders.
“I am given freedom by the management and I believe the freedom was given by Umno to criticise because Utusan is different from Harakah.
“Harakah is an official mouthpiece (of PAS) whereas Utusan is a newspaper and it has to act like a newspaper rather than a mouthpiece,” he said when contacted by Malaysiakini yesterday.
Previously, Ku Seman had questioned Umno’s integrity in explaining the truth behind the RM2.6 billion donation to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak through its article titled ‘Derma RM2.6 billion dan integriti Umno’ (The RM2.6 billion donation and Umno’s integrity).
Following the publication of the article, the party had chastised Utusan for being vocal about the RM2.6 billion which was supposedly deposited into Najib’s account as a political donation.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Mohd Salleh Said Keruak said Utusan should not have continued to bring up the political funding issue citing how both the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and Najib had said it is a donation and not a bribe.
‘Media’s responsibility to ask’
Meanwhile, Special Affairs Department (Jasa) director Puad Zarkashi said Ku Seman should explain to his readers that there are no regulations prohibiting any individual from using his personal accounts to handle political funds.
Puad argued if it is true that Najib wants to use the funds for his personal gain, then he would have kept it in an offshore bank account instead of moving the funds into Malaysia.
Ku Seman, who is also the editor for Utusan’s international politics section, said that as a media organisation he has the responsibility of questioning leaders to seek clarity about an issue.
“As a media organisation, I think we can use our power to reprimand and question. I think the article is not defamatory, just a general article published in (Utusan’s weekend edition) Mingguan Malaysia. I don’t think it is too personal or accusatory,” he said.
When asked if he is concerned that action would be taken against him, he replied, “I think there is no reason to take action because what I have written is already ‘clean’ and there is no point for Umno to take action against Utusan.
“I feel responsible to raise issues for the people. I feel that Umno has to be mature enough to be scolded and receive criticism from within and outside,” he said.