By Chris Maskilone
KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Journalists Association President Datuk Joniston Bangkuai has come out in defence of local tabloid Daily Express, which is under fire from the present Sabah Government leaders.
“I believe Daily Express was merely doing what was expected of it as a responsible and independent news organisation to get reaction from relevant leaders on issues of public interest.
“As such Sabah leaders, including those at the federal level, should thank the Daily Express for seeking the Prime Minister’s response on the State’s contention that it was not consulted on several decisions made by the federal government, such as the recent appointment of UMS new vice-chancellor, departure tax and on the introduction of khat at schools,” said Bangkuai who is Kiulu Assemblyman.
Bangkuai who was the former NST regional editor for Sabah and Sarawak remembered that the Sabah chief minister had publicly stated the Central goverment did not consult or discuss with the State all these issues, which was widely publicised by the media.
“As the chief minister’s contention has generated great public interest, it was only to be expected for the media to follow-up on the matter with the Prime Minister as the chief executive of the federal government,” he said.
He said the PM’s reply that “the State government did not say anything to us” when tied to the context of the Daily Express’ question to him, suggested that the State have not raised the matter to the federal government.
Following the allegation of misreporting and call for a retraction of what was reported by the Daily Express, he said it was prudent and proper on the part of the newspapers to seek further clarification from the Prime Minister on the matter.
“Lets not be quick to demonise the media before getting a clear picture and explanation on any news reports that we are not happy about,” he said.
Sabah Federal cabinet ministers had demanded that Daily Express issued an apology and retracted the story regarding Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s response to its questions, which they claimed showing them as not doing their job.-SabahNewsToday.