Kairos Disappointed with Misrepresentations in Baradan Kuppusamy’s Article

Kairos’ response to the mischievous article by Baradan Kuppusamy was published in The STAR today (25 Sept 2012) LINK

See:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/9/25/focus/12075536&sec=focus

For the record, I give below the original text of the letter sent to the Editor of The STAR

Kairos Disappointed with Misrepresentations in Baradan Kuppusamy’s Article

We are disappointed and dismayed at the recent article in The STAR written by Baradan Kuppusamy that gives a distorted report of the recent forum organized by Kairos Research Centre, “New Political Activism and Realignment: Implications for Malaysia’s GE13.”

The article misrepresented the forum speakers with its claim that “Academics and other opinion makers said to be close to Pakatan Rakyat praised the Prime Minister’s reformist credentials while questioning Pakatan’s readiness to rule the country.”  Baradan was not present at the forum and he obviously relied on earlier reports of the event posted in the web. His second-hand report is not only inaccurate but it has skewed the thrust of the speakers’ views through selective quotations that ignore the wider context of the speakers’ presentations.

For example, Bridget Welsh pointed out that Najib Tun Razak faced difficulties in carrying out reforms for UMNO despite electoral setbacks. Her caveat that included the observation that UMNO has not reformed since 2008 due to pressures from the “tremendous legacy” of constraint left by Mahathir was completely left out. Baradan’s quotation, “Dr Welsh said Najib ‘deserves credit’…” ignores the thrust of her cautionary judgment that Najib’s ‘reforms’ were in the end ineffective.

Baradan failed to do Andrew Khoo justice when he took Andrew’s words as casting doubt on Pakatan’s readiness to rule because it has not announced a shadow cabinet. The remark was an answer to what was a final question of the forum and should be understood in the context of an earlier discussion that lasted 2 ½ hours. Andrew had previously mentioned that Najib’s so-called ‘reforms’, when looked at more closely, were not comprehensive and deep-rooted, and therefore were not as significant as they were made out to be. That being the case, the question arose as to how Pakatan could do better, to which Andrew raised the role of a shadow cabinet. One may debate the merits and demerits of the role of a shadow cabinet, but it would be doing Andrew grave injustice to suggest that he therefore cast doubt on Pakatan’s readiness to rule.

It should be stressed that the purpose of the forum by Kairos Research Centre was neither to praise nor to blame any political party. The ethos of Kairos forums is educational with the aim to inform Christians with accurate facts pertaining to social-political developments and educate Christians on the criteria of justice and good governance and to engage with civil society in building robust democratic institutions.

One would have expected journalists to maintain professionalism with fair and accurate reporting. In this regard, we are disappointed as the article is inaccurate, unfair and mischievous.

Strong democracies and good elections result from voters who have been properly informed by journalists writing with professionalism and moral integrity. As concerned Malaysians we expect nothing less.

Dr. Ng Kam Weng
Kairos Research Centre

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Links to relevant news articles:

The Malaysian Insider was the first to report on the Forum LINK

The STAR followed with an article by Baradan Kuppusamy LINK

New Malaysian Insider article: UMNO politicians immediately seized the misleading reports for political spin. Prime Minister Najib Razak  in Johor declared the forum speakers “cast doubt on PR’s readiness to rule Malaysia” LINK

The Malaysian Insider then published an article by Prof. Bridget Welsh that corrects some of the errors found in above two articles. An apology from the Malaysian Insider was appended LINK