MCA’s Dr Chua Soi Lek role in RFM98.9 DJ Jamal suspension ?

Posted on August 24, 2010


Whatever MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s explanation, suspended radio DJ Jamaluddin Ibrahim is unimpressed.
In fact, he said, Chua’s claim that the decision to suspend him was a “management issue” only proves that it is part of some sort of “political conspiracy”. “If you say it is not good for’s revenue and you want to change management, fine. That is fair. If the programme is not successful, you want to make it better, it’s fair,” he said.

Full story here:

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“But what has (988’s immediate owner) Star RFM (Sdn Bhd) gained from this? They lost their audience, they lost revenue.
“The only thing ‘they’ gained is political mileage. ‘Their’ motive is to kill off the programme. It’s very clear that ‘they’ don’t want people to discuss current issues…for people to be woken up.”

But Jamaluddin, in an exclusive interview this morning, refused to speculate on who ‘they’ are.

The deejay popularly known as Jamal was suspended indefinately from Aug 19, when the station received a warning letter from the Malaysian Multimedia and Communication Commission (MCMC).
In the letter, he was said to be “threatening to national security” and “compromising race relationships” during an interview with columnist Ouyang Wen Feng on the Hi Malaysia talk-show on Aug 13.

Chief executive officer Wong Lai Ngo and senior programme manager Tan Chia Yong, although not mentioned in the MCMC letter, were later also suspended further strengthening Jamal’s suspicions.

MCMC taken by surprise
The letter is by far the harshest warning the show has received from the commission since it went on air in May 2009, said Jamal, who was educated in Beijing and speaks fluent Mandarin.
In previous ‘coffee’ sessions with MCMC, the station had been verbally warned against using the word ‘communist’, he said.

Jamal is the son of Communist Party of Malaya activists, the late Shamsiah Fakeh and Ibrahim Mohamad. He returned to Malaysia with his parents in 1994 after 10 years of waiting for permission from the government.

He said the MCMC also took issue when the show invited opposition party leaders to speak, or did not censor the harsh criticism from listeners who called in.
“I was told there is a certain person whose task is only to record, listen to and translate the programme, find out if there are certain ‘problematic’ points and to report to MCMC,” he said.
But according to the deejay, even the commission, which had apparently put the show on its radar, did not anticipate the multiple suspensions.
“The (MCMC) officer was surprised. (He said,) ‘How? We just issued a normal warning letter’,” said Jamal.
“’They’ just want MCMC to issue the letter so ‘they’ can take action. This is the drama. The script has already been done, just need to (act it out).”

It is precisely this sort of ‘shadow-play’ that infuriates Jamal, who had publicly backed Ong Tee Keat  in the prolonged MCA leadership crisis.
Realistically, he had expected to be asked to leave after Ong lost in the presidential election but in a manner that is more up-front and gentlemanly.

“If Chua (had said), ‘This is a political decision, I want you to leave’ then I would not mind, meaning I won’t be able to do anything about it…(Instead now) they do not want to bear responsibility,” he said.

Prohibited words

Despite a 10-hour meeting with MCMC, Jamal said he is still in the dark as to what he did wrong.

“(MCMC) just chose words out of the conversation, but not the context. Words like ‘racism’ and ‘racial politics’. They only chose sentences where such words appear.
“Whether or not you are satisfied with the translation, if you admit that such words come out of your mouth, then you’ve made the mistake.”

Interestingly, he said, he knows of no actual list of ‘prohibited words’ passed to radio DJs.
“If there is a list, then news or current affairs programme cannot (take place) at all. All these words cannot be used – like racism, homosexual, comrade, communist – …maybe there’s a lot, we don’t know.
“It means everybody is making mistakes every day at every moment, but if ‘they’ don’t like you, ‘they’ (find) you guilty.”

While he denies that the claims of conspiracy are part of a ploy to allow him to return to air a hero, the response he has received so far suggests otherwise.

The station received about 3,900 text-messages from listeners pledging their support on the first morning that he did not helm the show.
In fact, strong audience support was supposed to be the gauge for the management to decide whether or not to let him stay.

Jamal said Wong had asked him to go on leave in a bid to appease the MCMC, but planned to take him back depending on the support he receives from the audience.
But with the top officer’s job now also on the line, the future of Hi Malaysia remains in limbo, despite Jamal’s high hopes.

Never mind that Ibrahim Ali-led Perkasa wants MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek put away under the Internal Security Act. As far as suspended radio disc jockey Jamaluddin Ibrahim is concerned, the Pasir Mas MP and Chua (left) are just two sides of the same coin.
In fact the MCA man is even worse, he caustically said during an interview with Malaysiakini yesterday.
“At least Ibrahim Ali does not touch on issues of religion,” he said, still smarting over Chua’s statement which reminded the deejay, a Muslim, to act appropriately in the holy month of Ramadan.

Full story here:

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Chua had said this in response to a misreport by online news portalMerdeka Review which claimed that Jamal had met the former five times.
The portal has since issued an apology to both parties, but Chua has refused to say sorry for commenting on the deejay’s religion.

In the same statement, Chua had denied having a hand in Jamal’s suspension from the MCA-owned radio station on Aug 19, after the station received a letter from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

In the letter, he was said to be “threatening national security” and “compromising race relationships” during an interview with columnist Ouyang Wen Feng on the Hi Malaysia talk-show on Aug 13.
The radio station’s chief executive officer Wong Lai Ngo and senior programme manager Tan Chia Yong, although not mentioned in the MCMC letter, were later also suspended.

The station’s immediate owner Star RFM’s chairperson Linda Ngiam (left) said the suspensions were not politically-motivated and were management decisons.

‘Chua used to call me
si fu’
According to the Beijing-educated deejay, his relationship with Chua was not always this rocky, and had only turned sour when the latter became MCA president.

“He called me
si fu (master) before he became (party) president…but now he never even smiles at me. Very serious.
“(But I know) he was only nice to me so that I wouldn’t criticise him too much” said the current affairs breakfast show host.

This is hardly surprising, considering the fact that the deejay had taken a rather staunch position against Chua in the long drawn-out MCA leadership crisis.

Jamal was, however, decidedly coy when quizzed about his allegiance to Chua’s rival and former MCA president Ong Tee Keat.
“I can be labeled as a supporter of Ong, but you really don’t know whether I am a real supporter or not,” he said.

Be that as it may, Jamal’s hard-line stance on the current affairs breakfast show was said to have ‘forced’ his co-host Koh Kok Wee  to huddle in Chua’s corner.
Koh’s apparent efforts to balance out the show was said to not endear him to the then-party president and cost him his co-host post when he was later taken off the air.

For Jamal, however, what happened to his colleague, who “is still a friend”, was not politically-motivated even though Koh “really does not like Ong”.
“If you want to argue every time during the programme, it will be quite noisy. So the management made a decision to make (Koh return to his position) chief editor. They never fired or suspended him.
“If (Koh was removed) by Ong and I was (removed) by Chua, then who removed our CEO?… (In Ong’s time) I didn’t feel any interference,” he said.

It was the same assurance of media freedom which Jamal thought he had obtained from the new president when he met the new president on May 3.

Blackout from Chinese-language press

This is despite his self-confessed direct attacks on the MCA president’s standing following the split in the party.

“(I told him) you are not a very strong president. You only got 901 votes. Now you are the president but if Ong Ka Ting and Ong Tee Keat had combined, you would have lost.
“(But) he promised many times that he does not want to interfere with radio and press freedom affairs. I hope he can keep his word, but people can find out at a later stage. There is a lot of truth to prove what he has done,” he said.

While he neither revealed the “proof” nor directly named Chua and MCA as the culprits in the fiasco, Jamal’s disappointment with the party president is evident.
Likewise, he felt let down by his colleagues in the Chinese-language newspapers, who have apparently blacked out his side of the story and given prominence to Chua instead.

“I am very confused and sad (because) the Chinese media – Sin Chew Jit Poh, Nanyang Siang Pau, China Press – did not want to publish my statement. Not a single word.
“They gave a lot of space to Chua. When you compare Jamal and Chua, I think they hate me more,” he said.

Despite his less-than-friendly opinion of the MCA president, Jamal is open and even hopeful of returning to helm the popular show.
It is the same logic which he employed when deciding to join the party-owned station, despite his heavy criticism of MCA.

“This is only a platform for you to make comments. If I can have such a platform to communicate with my audience, why not?
“You should read the comments left on my Facebook page. Millions feel that their minds have been changed by listening to (
Hi Malaysia). It’s a huge influence, they never had this kind of programme,” he said.

My earlier post on this issue: