The alternative media takes great pride in using the country's name to champion the cause of democracy.
Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right. – Abrahim Lincoln
To laugh or not to laugh – that is the predicament we all find ourselves in after reading what Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said at the Umno general assembly recently. Without even a tinge of embarrassment, she intoned that God is with Utusan and not with all those pesky news portals that have been the bane of the ruling party and presumably her family. Perhaps God came to her in a dream and told her He loves Utusan for showing the way to truth and justice. All the others have strayed and must burn in hell.
Shahrizat is defending a paper noted for its “extreme racist rhetoric” and religious bigotry, while condemning the news portals for their “unfair coverage” of the ruling party. She blew kisses to Utusan for “championing religion, the nation, the country and the people”, while implying that the new media is trying to ruin the country with its provocative headlines. This former minister, whose fall from grace was not mourned, is the last person to stand sentinel at the gates of heaven.
The whole world knows the true colours of Utusan. It is a daily that publishes combustible stories that can spark race riots and religious conflicts. It champions the cause of the majority race and sees the other citizens as enemies who must be marginalised and crushed. It constantly plays with fire by stirring Malay sentiments against people of other faith. Its irrational and unethical behaviour goes unpunished simply because it is controlled by Shahrizat’s party. Umno calls all the shots and pulls all the editorial strings and Utusan dances wildly and unashamedly on the stage.
Yet Shahrizat sees purity and sincerity in this propaganda mouthpiece for the ruling party. She salutes a fighter not of moral causes but an instigator of violence and hate. How can God side with such a creature let loose on the country with impunity? Shahrizat invokes His name in vain to lend credibility to an organisation that has lost all claim to honour and integrity. The All-Knowing One can certainly fathom the deceit and hypocrisy that oozes from a failed politician.
Shahrizat, who suffered an ignominious defeat to a young challenger and who sneaked into Parliament through the back door, mourned the unjust attacks on the Barisan Nasional. The BN is made to look like a poor victim stoically enduring blows from the new media. Its only defender is Utusan, the darling of the rabid fanatics who are itching to burn all “infidels” at the stake and turn the country into a vast Malay heartland. But more often than not, the BN is a not victim of ill-treatment but a perpetrator of unscrupulous practices and the fountain of injustice.
Scale of justice
The BN juggernaut driven by Shahrizat and her ilk did not have an easy outing. Standing in their way are the news portals – the new media that dares to expose the dirt and excesses of public figures. With the entrance of the new players, a whole new ball game is born. In this wide field, the voice of the downtrodden is given ample space to rise and be heard. People now have more trust in the online media than in Utusan, which distorts the truth to serve the interests of the ruling class. Democracy is treated better in the news portals than in Utusan.
Utusan keeps mum over the abuses of the BN but its referee, Shahrizat, cries foul when BN is vilified. She wants the news portals to be fair to BN like what Utusan does. Balderdash. Justice and fairness do not exist in BN’s lexicon or find pride of place in Utusan’s dictionary. The ruling coalition and its mouthpiece are forever colluding to clamp down on citizens seeking rights and fair treatment. In the midst of all this unhealthy development, the new media has come out on the side of the oppressed and suppressed. Where did Shahrizat get the idea that God is on the side of Utusan – only God knows.
The alternative media will not go away. Its searchlight will continue to hover, circle and swoop down on all those who abuse public trust or misuse public office. The new voice is fighting for people and country. It is more fitting to salute the common citizens struggling for truth than those spinning lies, pouting threats, smearing God’s name. The members of the new media take great pride in using the country’s name in defence of democracy and human dignity whereas Utusan’s Malaysia is devoid of honour and is a crying shame on the country. If God must take sides, surely He knows better than Shahrizat in which direction to tilt the scale of justice.