Freedom to information and the right to disagree
Sunday, January 29, 2012 - 22:12
After almost a decade of being referred to as “Mr Down2Earth” by everyone from my mother-in-law to random folk, it was time for me to seek another identity.
This was done for two reasons – to close a chapter of a long and rewarding career in theSun. (As well as to comply with a cease and desist letter from my previous employers.)
This has prompted me to look ahead and open a new chapter with The Malay Mail. Hence I have decided to name it “Hot Fuss”.
It may have been partly inspired by the excitement over the use of the name of my old column; but it also helps illustrate the themes of my future articles in The Malay Mail – sizzling issues that are making many Malaysians hot and bothered.
If anyone wants to claim copyright then they may have to probably take a number behind ex-bosses and American rock band The Killers, whose debut album is of the same title.
To those who are new to me, I'm one who believes that there are many ways to skin a cat. Hence, we can have a respectable discourse and take each other's opinions into advisement.
We can banter over emails and perhaps a beer or tea, but differences in opinion must always be tempered with mutual respect where we can agree to disagree.
To those who have followed my writings over the last 10 years, you can expect the honest truth, although I may be faulted for pulling back my punches if the topic is particularly sensitive.
It is not a cop out but I am merely being cautious that the message is not lost in the rhetoric. As I said earlier, there are many ways to skin a cat. If you want drama and theatrics, go to a Perkasa gathering.
But with a wider playing field and the parameters for good journalism expanded, thanks in part to the democratic reforms which the prime minister is trying to promote and an organisation that is willing to take risks in espousing responsible journalism, I expect to be able to plunge the knife a little deeper.
Yes, words can be razor sharp but sometimes people must not only hear what they want to, but what they should hear.
Being deaf to reality is what ails many of us, especially those in officialdom. Decision makers, including those on the taxpayers' payroll are at times surrounded by “yes men” who sugar coat their feedback to a point where their political masters are out of touch with the ground and end up like a deer in the headlights when reality hits them between the eyes.
We hope – both me personally and the rest of us Mailers – to be the sounding board of the people and the go-between for the regular folk and those in power.
Having a well-informed society also extends to members of society further up the food chain. Information is the new blue chip commodity. Lack of it and misinformation could spell disaster for one's career, as well as those around him and the rest of us lower down the pecking order.
Thus, in positioning the new Malay Mail as occupying the vacuum for a middle ground, those who write for it, including our guest columnists such as Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah below, have committed to be true to one cause – the public interest and the people's right to know.
Irrespective of political affiliation, be it moderates or extremists, sexual preferences and educational levels, we believe that in this informed society of ours, everyone has the right to be heard.
And the people should be given the regard that is due to them – that they can be trusted to make the right judgment and the right call for themselves, their children and their nation
Terence believes Malaysians are more discerning than we give them credit for. He is Editor (News) of The Malay Mail. Feedback: [email protected] His Twitter handle is @TerenceFnandez