MACC’s ‘say it all’ press conference botched

Statements by MACC leader Azam Baki raise more questions than answers

The special press conference organized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to clear his name was botched every time.

The press conference was held amid deteriorating public perception and outcry following the resignation and exposure of political economist Dr. Terence Gomez.

Many had given the nation’s only anti-corruption vanguard the benefit of the doubt to present the truth and nothing but the truth.

But MACC’s press relations broke all the sacrosanct rules of media relations. According to a report (the Vibes.com, January 6, 2022, “Shambolic MACC press raises new questions about integrity of anti-graft body”), “the handling of the press conference was a complete disaster”.

The MACC allegedly discriminated against the media. He deliberately chose not to invite multiple media for his revealing press conference. Although the MACC venue for the press conference was built for a capacity of 300 people and could easily accommodate 150 people under Covid protocols, only 40 selectively admitted media personnel had access to the press conference. long awaited.

It’s not new. We have often heard that politicians and government leaders practice media discrimination, allowing only “friendly” media to cover their press conferences.

But when a vanguard institution, tasked with protecting the nation from corruption without fear or favor, imitates politicians’ warped media relations practices, the MACC cannot easily be forgiven.

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The basic logic is that when you have the truth on your side, you don’t have to fear the media. And even the media, for some unknown reason, twists what you say, you could sue them and gain public support.

But time and time again, we witness this senseless Malaysian practice of trying to close the doors to media deemed ‘unfriendly’ or ‘biased’ or even ‘enemy’. These people never learn that if you invite or slam the doors of certain media, while being satisfied with those which seem to you to be obliged, the news is nevertheless reported by all the media.

Lesson? Don’t discriminate against the media.

Today, the media is not confined or immured in the traditional media sphere. Not all archaic Machiavellian laws can imprison, much less annihilate, the voice of journalism.

Society is evolving and moving rapidly from the industrial age to the information age and is now entering the phase of artificial intelligence (AI). Surveillance, discrimination or even enlisting a friendly media group on your side is akin to ostrich syndrome – burying your head and eyes in the sand.

Only the truth can be your only armor until the end.

MACC may think it’s nabbed a whistleblower. On the contrary, social media is full of negative comments – a disaster for MACC’s reputation.

When MACC fails, our nation’s good name, image and reputation fail. In a battle like this, wisdom must prevail. But wisdom is the servant of truth.

Do our leaders and the government think that we can risk further aggravating the global situation of the country, especially when we are reeling from so many corruption court cases involving high-ranking people and past crimes unsolved, including the murder of Altantuya?

The powers that be should know that when MACC’s reputation has been tarnished in the public sphere, any silence will lead them to be held accountable for their sins of omission, eventually. When will officials ever learn that discriminating against the media at press conferences will never stand the test of time?

The passport to gaining public support is integrity, transparency and accountability. Tell the truth and no media will risk shooting themselves in the mouth.

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