Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Why was Nazri’s parliamentary answer that the Cabinet has agreed to set up RCI on illegals in Sabah blacked out in Sabah press today when it should make it to all the front-page headlines?

A most bizarre and extraordinary development highlighting the triple woes about good governance in Malaysia – the unhealthy state of media freedom in Malaysia, the veracity of Ministerial statements and assurances in Parliament and thirdly, the continued contempt and disregard for the long-standing legitimate grievances of Sabahans by the Barisan Nasional Federal Government.

The question all Sabahans and Malaysians are entitled to an answer is why the written parliamentary answer of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz tabled in the Senate yesterday that the Cabinet has agreed on Feb. 8 this year to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah was blacked out in the Sabah press today when it should make it to all the front-page headlines? 

In fact, the news story was also killed in all the Malaysian mainstream mass media and all other language print media – except for the Sun, which appeared as page lead “RCI on illegals in Sabah” (p. 2), Star online (2.45 pm yesterday) and a few online portals like Malaysiakini and FreeMalaysiaToday.

Is it true that Bernama, which had earlier yesterday sent out a news bulletin on Nazri’s parliamentary answer confirming the Cabinet decision on Feb. 8 to form the RCI, had a few hours later sent out a retraction of the news item?

In his parliamentary answer, Nazri was reported to have said that the Cabinet has agreed to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) in an effort to find a lasting solution to the illegal immigrant problem in Sabah and that the process of preparing terms of reference of the RCI has started after the Cabinet made the decision on Feb 8.

Nazri said the terms of reference will be comprehensive and not confined only to investigations as the government wants to resolve the issue conclusively. The terms of reference would entail safety, social, economy and environmental aspects as the RCI would provide a lasting solution to the issue. The federal government would also get feedbacks and proposals from the Sabah government and stakeholders.

What right has Bernama to “kill” Nazri’s answer in Parliament, even if Nazri had misled and not told the truth in Parliament?

Will there be answers to these questions?