False reporting in Bernama

Letter by Cheong Yin Fan, Press Secretary to the Penang Chief Minister, to Bernama Chief Editor,Kuala Lumpur and Penang:

Dear Sir,

I wish to object in the strongest possible terms at your journalist’s dishonest and false reporting of a statement made by Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the MPPP Youth Park this morning on the “Little Napoleon” Nik Ali controversy. When asked to respond to PM Najib, DPM Muhyiddin and KPI Minister Koh Tsu Koon’s criticism of Lim for speaking out at the incompetence of State Development Officer Nik Ali, Lim had replied in a few simple sentences as follows:-

“I got the message from both Najib and Muhyiddin. That they still want to defend Little Napoleons like Nik Ali. I thank them for the message. As for Koh, who was rejected by Penang voters in the last general elections, his KPI now is to follow and parrot what the Prime Minister says so Koh has indeed fulfilled his KPI.”

For Bernama to twist this clear but simple response into Lim accepting in good faith the reproach from both Najib and Muhyiddin is dishonest and false. What is most shocking is the response from that Bernama reporter when I called her up to complain. She replied that she heard Lim Guan Eng clearly say “Little Napoleon” but had left that phrase out so that the story can come out. If she had reported what I said exactly the story would not come out. I told her firmly that we want a true statement and if that can not be truthful then don’t publish the story.

She then said she would pull out the story. Bernama has pulled out the story but did not give any explanation of the background causing some online news websites like the Malaysian Insider to pick it up and publish the false news. This is most unprofessional and unfair. And lends suspicions that the mainstream media is out to get and frame up Lim Guan Eng by any means possible.

As Press Secretary to the Penang Chief Minister I hope that Bernama explains fully such unprofessional misconduct.

Cheong Yin Fan
Press Secretary
Penang Chief Minister

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GEORGE TOWN, July 24 — Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has accepted in good faith the reproach from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin over his attack on state development officer (SDO) Nik Ali Mat Yunus.
“I accept the message from the prime minister and deputy prime minister…I thank them for the message,” he said after officiating at the Family Day of the Penang Development Corporation, here, today.

Najib said yesterday that the Cabinet could not accept Lim’s action of hitting out at Nik Ali to the extent of tarnishing the image of the federal officer.

He said as Chief Minister, Lim should be tactful when reprimanding officers over issues and should do it behind closed doors.

The spat between Lim and Nik Ali came out in the open after the Chief Minister made unsavoury remarks about the SDO on a number of occasions. —Bernama

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