Marah Betul Zam!

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 11/07/2007 08:18:00 PM | 0 Pandangan »

Zam: You people are nonsense!
Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Nov 7, 07 2:42pm

All it took was a mention of the word ‘Malaysiakini’ - and zam, zam alakazam, Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin lost his head!

No, this was no magical illusion, but a mightily irate reaction that saw him walking off in obvious disgust - but then returning twice to spew forth once more.

Also known as Zam, the minister was in the midst of a pack of journalists at the Putra World Trade Centre, awaiting the arrival of party leaders to the on-going Umno annual general assembly.

A Star reporter asked him to comment on the police report lodged against Umno by the Johor branch chief yesterday, but the minister could not hear the question because of the surrounding noise.

The Malaysiakini reporter, being next to Zainuddin, helped out by repeating the question but was asked to identify himself first.

The word ‘Malaysiakini’ was apparently too much for it generated an instant tirade by the minister: ‘You people are nonsense! Nonsense! You are very low!” he exclaimed.

He then walked away while shouting “You are nonsense!”, as Umno security personnel pushed people away to make way for delegates and VIPs to move past the assembled journalists.

Despite the congestion, a still-angry Zam returned to repeat: “Malaysiakini is nonsense. You people only know how to sensationalise news! You people are low!”

He walked off, only to come back a second time with a ‘thumbs down’ signal to accompany his rant this time.

For the record, the original question was not answered.

A few minutes later, when another Malaysiakini journalist approached Zam for his comments on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's opening speech, the minister again exploded. [See video below]

Constant critic

The police report had urged the police to investigate allegations that the Umno supreme council had expunged evidence of its plans to bar former party president Dr Mahathir Mohamad from attending last year’s AGM.

It was alleged that the expunging of the information from the minutes of the council’s meeting had been done on the instruction of current president and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah and Mahathir had, in the months leading up to the party AGM, been engaged in a public war of words.

The latter had attempted to attend the AGM as a Kubang Pasu delegate - rather than as an invited guest - but did not survive the vote.

Zam has been a consistent critic of Malaysiakini, often accusing the news portal of being an agent of Western imperialism, and had once accused its journalist of being “a CIA agent”.

He has argued that the country must create its own version of press freedom due to the multi-racial society.

The latest Reporters sans Frontieres press freedom index saw Malaysia’s ranking fall by 32 spots to 124, mainly due to government action against bloggers.

Right on cue, Zam told Malaysians to ignore the report, to the dismay of those who have been lobbying for restrictions on the print and broadcast media to be lifted.

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