08 January 2015


I am not usually interested (not recently, no) to debunk lies perpetrated by the media because after some time, you would eventually come to realisation that it’s not a battle worth fighting for and it’ll consume lots of your energy. 
However, that stance was challenged as soon as my eyes caught my district’s name on a headline of a Malay Mail online article.
In Temerloh, villagers ‘not on the list’ appeal to NGO’s for supplies as village chiefs cherry pick recipients.
As soon as I read the headline, I realised that there would be the underlying tone of blaming the government for cronyism. And true to my presumption, soon after I read the article, the accusation turns into conviction. The comment section was the proof that the article had achieved its objectives in shifting the blame to the government. 
I read the article, both literally and between the lines. To summarise, it follows an allegation of a woman named Hashimah Abdul Halim from Kampung Lubuk Kawah who told Malay Mail that ample supplies had been given to the village chief to be distributed but her family as well as many others did not receive any as their names were “not on the list”.
She told the reporters that her house now plays host to 3 families because theirs is among the houses that was not completely flooded. Her husband went to the distribution centre by boat to pick up supplies as well as arrange for the authorities to help send in aid to the villagers. Since there was no further details of the rejection that she faced, I had to assume that this was the point where and when her family was denied assistance. 
However, with that happening, she still managed to get by since she received 3 times more aids from NGOs since the flooding began. 
The article further strengthening the notion of ‘not-on-the-list, no help’ by interviewing a Royal Malaysian Navy officer who told Malay Mail Online that people from another village also had the same complaint, but added there was nothing they could do as they were given instructions to pass the supplies to village heads. It was not stated however either the Navy officer was commenting on the existence of the so-called list or simply giving a general observation of flood victims not receiving aids. 
However, untrue to the headline, there was only one village chief, not chiefs who was accused of cherry picking the villagers for aid in the article. 
The comment section kind of proofs that overall, the readers get the idea that it is BN/UMNO evildoing even though there was no clear indication either the village chief(s) were led by political motives.
Ygtan commented that ‘these politicians’ should be condemned when there was not even a shred of proof the village chief (not chiefs) is a politician. 
Cookie666 escalated it a notch higher by calling out Pahangites to vote against BN when he/she didn’t even know the village chief’s political affiliations, aside from the fact that there was not even a clue in the article BN was behind this. 
Clancywong echoes the same opinion by asking the readers to vote against BN in the next election to teach them about morals.
I have no problems about them being angry at UMNO/BN since their records are bad enough, but in this case, I believe that the hatred was unfounded. I however, have a bigger issue with this article.
The whole article is implying that many villagers were denied aid from their village chief, which is actually saying that Temerloh people are bad and politically motivated even in times of disaster.
I would like to rectify that assumption made by the author. 
First of all, the controversial part of the article is assuming such list exists even though they only interviewed a person. And the person in question was not the first hand source either. She told the reporter that it was her husband who went to the distribution centre, meaning she didn’t even touch or see the list for that matter.
Secondly, giving the article benefit of doubts, let’s say such list exists. My family in Temerloh told us that people who were displaced by the flood and seek shelter at the centre need to register their names there to ease aid distribution. These people are usually from the worst affected areas where their houses are completely flooded. Now let’s say these people names are on the list because they are the most affected people, don’t you think it’s logical that the government would give this group of people their utmost attention and assistance? 
If you read back the article, Puan Hashimah’s house was not even affected since they could host another two families there. It means at least she could have stocks of food and water, as well as a place for shelter. For that reason, her name was not on the list. Then why should she be angry when there are people who had completely lost their homes and need the assistance more than her?
I believe the village chief intention was only to ensure the most affected people get the assistance first before he could pass it to others who were not in such critical state. I also believe that she should at least get a clear idea of the chief’s reasoning before deciding that it was unfair. 
It is sickening to learn that because of this small misconception, people in my district were getting the attention for all the wrong reasons. During the flood, all of us were trying hard to help each other. True, there were people who loot into shops, broke into houses. But there are other people who chased these people away and videoed them to help police investigation. There were a few people who sold foods at unreasonable price during the flood, but there were also thousands who spoke out against them. 
Do you think Temerloh people will remain shut when our comrades/rodong denied assistance because of some stupid list? Our political affiliations had never become the point of disunity; we celebrate each other’s opinions. You might say it’s all BN’s fault and we should vote them out, but don’t you know Dato Saifuddin Abdullah is the BN representative from our constituency (and was voted out last year?)? Do you think Dato’ Saifuddin would remain mum if he knows this thing happening in his hometown? 
It is sad to learn that because of a newspaper who never checked their sources, a district falls victim to their incompetency.

No comments:
Write curses

Hey, we've just launched a new custom color Blogger template. You'll like it - https://t.co/quGl87I2PZ
Join Our Newsletter