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Friday, October 14, 2011

Malaysian Insider-Malay Mail-Malaysiakini and Malaysia Chronicle Saga

An EXCLUSIVE insider report by YL Chong, akaDesiderata

(IF thou knoweth not who YL, Desi is, please quickly get the here our of hel!:)

The saga has its incubation a few days ago in a Malaysian Insider story about impending changes at the top editorial and management levels of New Straits Times Press, an UMNO-controlled propaganda machine if you don't know (you haven't come out of the cave ah?)

In a by the way mention, MI reported that 12-year-old pioneer news portal Malaysiakini is holding talks with Malay Mail, perceived as yet another UMNO -- if not UMNO, then an Establishment -- newspaper. (A fellow Blogger named Rockybru was helming this "free" paper until very recently, and the Datuk Ahirudin Attan started a blog-newspaper The Mole on September 16, 2011, but that's another story...Why I mentioned this name was because it was speculated by MC maybe, just maybe, Rocky has a role to play in the MM-Mkini deal...)

The Malaysia Chronicle under a former Mkini editor Ms Wong Choon Mei picked up MI report, expanded on it by a follow-up with an implication that the Mkini-MM deal might involve a share-swap.

As expected (by those who kniow Mkini CEO Premesh Chandran well (like this writer for YL Chong is also a former Mkini News Editor in 2000!) in a press statement vehemently denied about a Mkini-MM deal, even asked Ms Wong CM to retract her portal's story. I think it was a case of big brother in Internet news trying to bully a young sister -- but having interacted with Wong CM, Premesh in pres world is just a mouse compared with a cat.

Back Story

Okay, just bear with me while I narrate a BACK STORY.

Some time in early 2001, the Far Eastern Review ran a short report saying that Mkini was receiving money from "purported" rogue trader (as alleged by several Malaysian leaders including the then Prime Minister), George Soros. FEER claimed the money was channeled through South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA). Yes, Premesh denied this report of George Soros funding, whether "direct of indirect".

I later found at a company meeting that Premesh was not being truthful. I wrote later that while FEER was barking up the right tree, it was standing on the wrong branch. The investment money came NOT from SEAPA but from the Media Development Loan Fund (MIDF), via a George Soros unit called the Open Society Institute which has many offices outside of the United States.

I was then News Editor, and hence privy to information raised at Mkini's meetings, and I had learned that indeed Mkini had received an initial 10percent down payment of RM188,000 for a 10percent interest in Mkini. At a weekend meeting I told the top two guns--Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran-- they had better come clean by telling the "full story" and not half-truths. I saidf how the investment money came through from George Soros -- direct or indirect -- was not important. The truth was indeed that RM188,000 came as initial investment from MDLF, a Soros unit.

I told them since Mkini flagged itself as promoting transparency and openness, it was not right to hide the fact. I said I had no problem with funding from Soros into the news portal -- as long as we practised ethical journalism.
Since the top two guns did not agree with me -- in fact Steven Gan said it would be the death of Malaysiakini if they admitted to receiving this Soros funding! -- I was given Hobson's choice but told them I would hand in my resignation the following Monday (two days later).

Premesh in a following press statement kept on insisting it was NOT truewhen I said indeed, the FEER story was correct in essence -- barking up the right tree but wrong branch was my metaphoric narrative! --disclosed when I went public on why I resigned. Premesh still vehemently denied the story of Mkini having received money from George Soros, and defamed me by saying I resigned over dissatisfaction over my "pay"!

I believe it was some 10 to 11 months later, MDLF paid the remaining 90percent of its investme, or more than the 1.88million initially indicated at the time of my resignation) or MORE for a 30percent (? I stand corrected on this poiint on the numbers). I drew the NST attention to this development and it ran an update story on this development.

___________________________________ ends Back Story

Now this back story is important to show that Premesh has always been a consistent liar or telling half-truths. He had initially vehementy denied on reaction the MI breaking the story on MM-Mkini holding negotiations.

But today, with tails between his legs, Steven Gan admitted that indeed in gist the MI story and subsequent follow-up reports by Malaysia Chronicle was true in essence. I reproduce the initial paras in MC's latest report below++++. The differences are only on the details. Refer the following ****LINK at the original site at malaysia-chronicle.com:


riday, 14 October 2011 14:18

Malaysiakini owns up

Written by Ismail Dahlan, Malaysia Chronicle
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Malaysiakini owns up

Despite his vociferous denials of our report on the 13th of October, Malaysiakini’s Premesh Chandran failed to come clean and admit that Malaysiakini is in fact in discussion with the Malay Mail.

This was admitted to by Steven Gan under the melodramatic headline that he would sell out of Malaysiakini over his ‘dead body’. But Gan is not Kapal Singh.

Towards the bottom of his article, Gan admitted that Malaysiakini is in fact in discussions with The Malay Mail.

It is not clear whether the infamous ‘Rocky Bru’, who moved from criticizing the BN to supporting it overnight (to the horror and disgust of his many supporters), was part of the discussions.

Gan then noted that while he may end up selling his news to The Malay Mail, this would not affect editorial policy. He neglected to explain why the pro-government Malay Mail would want to run any news which is positive to the opposition.

POSTSCRIPT: I may have another "followup" report come midnight if my writHer's spirits are up, steal. -- YL, Desi, knottyaSsusual

1 comment:

  1. Any act of collaboration between MM and Mkini will surely result in a huge dent in the credibility and popularity of Mkini. Mkini will be the loser for sure.