Friday, April 04, 2008

On Nadeswaran on Chandra Muzaffar on Anwar Ibrahim

I find the Sun Daily is a good buy, although distributed free throughout the Klang valley! The news is easy to read and although many will not admit it but people read the paper because the news is just newsy and refreshing.
Nadeswaran in his Citizen Nades column give a very strong impression Malaysia still holds that freedom of expression even if it is just sometimes elusive.
I find his thought on Chandra Muzaffar interesting. In a reply, his rejoinder, riposte and with his no holds barred repartee, Nades is one of its kind in Malaysia that one day can be a national treasure, therefore I suggest any Sultan or governor reading this must consider him a Datukship for speaking his mind on behalf of Malaysia! Below is a sample of his repartee and rejoinder with Chandra Muzaffar. However, Chandra did explain in his letter to the Sun in response to Nades harsh reply to Chandra's letter to the Sun.

It started with Chandra's response to an article "Honest Journalism" in which Chandra said:

More pro-establishment? Not quite’ IN theSun’s interview with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, (Conversations, March 27) journalist Terence Fernandez makes a defamatory remark about me which has to be set right in the interest of accurate, honest jou

rnalism. He says that, "After Chandra was released from the ISA, he seemed to be more pro-establishment." I was released from detention under the ISA on Dec 18, 1987, after 52 days. At the end of January 1988 I issued a media statement as president of Aliran, in the name of a variety of NGOs, urging the government to free the rest of the ISA detainees and abolish the ISA. From May 1988 till the middle of 1989 I wrote a series of articles in the Aliran Monthly and spoke at a number of forums criticising the government for the unjust ouster of former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas, and the emasculation of the judiciary. In early 1990, together with a handful of other independent members, I resigned from the Majlis Perundingan Ekonomi Negara (Mapen), to protest what we regarded as the government’s manipulation of Mapen for electoral purposes. It was only after I stepped down as president of Aliran in November 1991 and helped to found a new NGO with some friends in Penang called the Just World Trust in 1992 that I shifted my focus to international affairs. But when a major crisis erupted with the incarceration of, and assault on, Anwar in September 1998 I redirected my energies to Malaysian politics and was in the forefront of a movement called Adil which was not only critical of the Malaysian government’s treatment of Anwar but also of the subversion of democratic institutions. When an opposition political party called KeADILan Nasional was established on the foundations of this movement the following year, I was appointed its deputy president and even contested – and lost – the 1999 general election. I continued in this role for the next 2½ years. At the end of 2001, however, I withdrew completely from party politics and now concentrate upon Just activities and my academic work. This brief record of my activities since my release from ISA belies Fernandez’s mischievous allegation that after my ISA release I "seemed to be more pro-establishment". Dr Chandra Muzaffar Kuala Lumpur This is what Nades's repsonse to Chandra's letter (above).

Honest journalism R. Nadeswaran Comment by R. Nadeswaran THIS newspaper has prided itself as one of the few that practise the poli cy of "right of reply." I have on several occasions said that everyone has a right to disagree with my views and I will endeavour to publish their views, subject to the editor’s right to edit it for clarity and relevancy. Sometimes, letters and replies are not published in full because of space constraints. Therefore, when colleagues in the office told me on Sunday that they received mail from Dr Chandra Muzaffar on the interview done by Terence Fernandez and this writer (theSun, March 27), my first reaction, without even sighting those letters, was: Use them. Yesterday morning, I read the first of two letters published in this newspaper (another follows on Thursday). First let me declare my interests – Terence is my colleague and I was at that interview with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I don’t want to split hairs with Chandra, but I want to put the record straight. As much as he has an opinion about Anwar, Terence has his views about the former Keadilan deputy president. Chandra asserts that he wants to set right a statement "in the interests of accurate, honest journalism." I have no qualms about that. I know my colleague’s honesty and integrity, and what’s more, his obsession with accuracy. After all, he has been reporting directly to me in various capacities since 1999 and I have always had the pleasure of going through almost all his copy. Therefore, I take umbrage at insinuations and allegations that Terence’s comments were "mischievous". He made a comment and to emphasise the point, he used the word "seems", which is the perception - after Chandra’s infamous view – "that it would be an unmitigated disaster for Malaysia" should Anwar become prime minister. We were soliciting an answer from Anwar because Chandra had made all kinds of derogatory remarks about the former deputy prime minister. This does not make it dishonest or inaccurate journalism or mischievous as Chandra views it. If he wants to take any consolation, let it be said that I edited the copy before it was published. Chandra, in his letter, explains his stand and what he had done after he was released from detention under the Internal Security Act. That cannot be denied, all that can be said is: "Well done!" Saying anything more will be condescending. But how did he come to the conclusion that Anwar made those remarks of the Hindu temple in Penang when he was never present? Anwar has since clarified that he went alone, albeit with two plainclothes officers to sort out the matter. The only logical conclusion of any right-thinking person is that Chandra was speaking on hearsay or rumours or even authentic information, which he has chosen not to disclose. There has been plenty of discussions on the blogosphere on Chandra’s comments, but these extracts from a press release from members of the Aliran Executive Committee are more to the point, and I believe the writers’ honesty and accuracy: Chandra’s remarks as reported in the mainstream media appear to emphasise that Anwar Ibrahim is not a leader who can be trusted. Apparently, money politics is also prevalent in the PKR. If this is true, it is cause for concern because the implications are that the money politics disease has spread from the BN to the PKR! From our knowledge, money politics is indeed widespread within the ruling BN parties. It is odd, therefore, that Chandra should be so concerned about the problem of money politics in PKR per se. At the same time, he has not said much of late about the money politics which has always been associated with the BN. Chandra also has highlighted the supposedly racial scare tactics used by PKR during the Lunas by-election. For us, such dirty tricks have been resorted to by all parties especially the BN. Again, all forms of racial baiting by all parties should be condemned. The most disturbing aspect of this episode is how Dr Chandra has wittingly or unwittingly lent himself to be a part of the BN propaganda machine. It is sad that a prominent intellectual and long-time activist of his standing has such a blinkered view of the issue at hand. We wonder why he did not make these alleged goings-on public earlier and follow up on them conclusively given his public stance on integrity and accountability. Why only now?

AND This is what Chandra response to Nades article:

I WAS surprised – and disappointed – to read R. Nadeswaran’s reaction (April 1) to my letter to theSun (March 31) on Terence Fernandez’s remark about my orientation after my ISA arrest in 1987. My purpose was to correct Fernandez’s remark about my seeming "to be more pro-establishment" after my release from ISA. Let me also add that this "pro-establishment individual" lost his job as professor and director of the Centre for Civilisational Dialogue at the University of Malaya in 1999 because of his stand on the Anwar Ibrahim issue. The temple bells issue and Anwar and his politics are extraneous to my primary concern which was to set the record straight about my post-ISA position. The temple bells issue is part of Anwar’s defamation suit against me, which is why I have not commented on it. As for the Aliran statement, from which Nadeswaran quotes extensively to reinforce his case, I replied to it as soon as it was issued. I am attaching my reply. Chandra’s reply to Aliran’s statement. Let me begin by correcting some erroneous phrases in the Aliran media statement. I had not said that the BN "is a better choice". Neither The Star nor the NST which reported my speech at the Forum on the General Election organised by The Star on 3 March, 2008 used that phrase. What I said was that "at this juncture in our history, the BN, despite all its flaws, constitutes the only viable inter-ethnic coalition in the country". I then explained why the attempt by the Opposition to create an alternative coalition between 1999 and 2001, in which I was involved, together with others, failed. That "the BN … is a better choice" is a phrase concocted by Aliran officials who had signed the statement. By the same token, there is no way that my remarks on Anwar could be construed as an "emotional outburst". The half a minute answer I gave was in response to a question from a member of the audience. I spelt out briefly the reasons why I thought Anwar was not fit to lead a multi-ethnic nation. There are many other factors that disqualify him from performing a leadership role which I shall reveal at the right time. Some of my unhappiness with Anwar and Parti Keadilan Nasional (as it was then known) which I quit in December 2001, I chose to share with Aliran president P. Ramakrishnan at a dinner in a Petaling Jaya restaurant in early 2002. From the notes I have kept of our meeting, I was quite candid with him about money politics in the party, the lack of financial accountability, and its manipulation of communal sentiments. It was information that I have over the years brought to the notice of a handful of other friends. In a couple of interviews with local magazines I had also alluded to these weaknesses within the party and its leadership. But I never really exposed the politics of PKR and Anwar until March 3, 2008. Aliran leaders, like some others who have made caustic comments about my criticism of Anwar, ask why I had decided to go public at this time, in the midst of the 12th general election campaign. As I have explained, I did not choose the moment or the occasion. I was merely replying to a question from the floor. My answer has prompted a variety of individuals and groups within and without the political arena to expose the machinations and manipulations of a Machiavellian politician. For this master of deceit and duplicity was beginning to hoodwink a gullible segment of Malaysian society into believing that he was that long awaited "knight in shining armour" who would deliver the masses into that glorious paradise of justice and equality. It is partly because "the knight" has been unmasked that many more Malaysians have become conscious of what is at stake at this critical moment in their lives when they once again exercise their right to determine their future. The unmasking of their "knight" has obviously made the Aliran leaders unhappy. They demand to know why I am "so concerned about the problem of money politics in PKR" and yet have not "said much of late about the money politics which has always been associated with the BN". If any of the Aliran leaders had been at the 3rd March forum, he would acknowledge that in my presentation I had highlighted corruption in the upper echelons of politics and business as one of the three major challenges confronting the nation. I had also suggested that the widening gap between the "have-a-lot" and the "have-a-little" and the strengthening of democracy are two other challenges that demand the urgent attention of the ruling elite. Since the main thrust of my presentation was the relationship between the ethnic situation and the forthcoming election, I also expressed the view that the ruling elite of the last few decades was largely responsible for allowing ethnic polarisation to worsen. At the end of my talk, I proposed that the BN should at the grassroots level begin to transform itself into a truly multi-ethnic rather than an inter-ethnic party in order to enhance national integration. It is of course true that these Malaysian concerns have not been the primary foci of my attention in the last decade and a half. This is because I have been concentrating on the global power structure. But I am aware of how that global structure impacts upon the local. It is because I know quite a bit about the global-local interface that I am deeply worried about Anwar Ibrahim’s role in Malaysian politics. Chandra Muzaffar Petaling Jaya. March 7, 2008. ends

I don't know about you but I find the repartee between the two is interesting. However, my take is journalists sometime do sensationalize issues. If we read what Chandra said his answer was made at a spur of a moment for us to decide on his credibility. Personally I think he is still a man and an intellectual with integrity! Cheers! For the SUN have a good one!


Anonymous said...

"If we read what Chandra said his answer was made at a spur of a momol decide on his credibility. Personally I tghink he is still a man and an intellectual with integrity!"

Only that Mahatir ISA-ed him and later will deny him an income after he sacks him for having a different opinion. So it tells you a lot.

Anonymous said...

fuck you pasquale!

ShebaUncome said...

Keep it up Pasquale some people just have limited vocabulary!

Anonymous said...

Chandra adalah seorang hipokrat!!
apa nak dicakap lagi

Anonymous said...

I always have the highest regard for Chandra as it is known that he has been offered numerous tittles by the ruling BN and has turned all down. How ppl can do that..DATUK SERI Anwar?

Anonymous said...

My sympathy with Dr Chandra for being victimised by the SUN but look at the bright side I always see the Sun as a free paper and low quality info so focus on the world platform and forget small cikus like Nades and the geng

Anonymous said...

Kesian terence fernandez ini kena sembunyi belakang kain nades, tak berani buat comment sendiri