Written by Norafiqah Jamal

This comparative study looked at two issues involving Malaysian reporting and overseas reporting. The first issue is China Geely buys stake percent of Proton. This comparative news is between News Straits Times (NST) with Reuters. The second issue is an Indonesia flag flap during Sea Games Kuala Lumpur on August 2017 between The Star and Al Jazeera news. All the comparisons of the news divided by the identity of the news agencies, the agenda of the news agencies and lastly the practicalities of the news agencies wrote the gist of the news.

The first issue in comparative news looked at the issues about Geely who is a carmaker company from China buys 49.9 percent of Malaysian automaker Proton. This is one of the shocking news for Malaysian because Proton is one of symbol of nationalism of Malaysia. So the comparison has been made between Reuters news online and News Straits Times also online. Basically, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd, parent of Hong Kong- based Geely Automobile Holdings buy 49.9 percent of struggling Malaysian carmaker Proton from conglomerate DRB-HICOM Bhd. Proton was founded in 1983 during an industrialization push of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed. It is domestic market share peaked at 74 percent a decade later as drivers took advantage of cheap loans as the government encouraged Malaysians to buy local products. But since the market share drops to 15 percent on last year (2016), Proton needs to do something to overcome this issue and sell share to China carmaker company names Geely for 49.9 percent. So the news came out from different perspectives regarding the issues of national pride.


The headline from Reuters shows the fact. Reuters based in London is one of British multinational media and financial information company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It was acquired by The Thomson Corporation in 2008, forming Thomson Reuters. Reuters Group was best known for the Reuters news agency, which was the original business of the company. So based on the news wrote by the Reuters journalist based in Malaysia, Rozanna Latiff and Norihiko Shirouzu. In the news they stated about the Geely wants to help Proton because Proton is a national car and source of pride of Malaysia. So the agenda of Reuters is supported by Geely. Even though this joint venture has hidden agenda but Reuters makes people who read the news believe that Geely will helps Proton to rebrand the product to remake it till success. This is because, Geely marking the Chinese automaker’s first push into Southeast Asia. News published by Reuters always accompanied by source. So for this news, the reporters from Reuters come to the press conference about the dealing between Proton and Geely. Reuters also stated a bit of Geely background when Geely buys the Volvo car group on 2010. Put the figure of stock exchanges in DRB-HICOM Bhd. in previously reported also Reuters stated the interested automakers to buys stake from proton like France’s Renault SA and Peugeot SA as well as Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp. So in few last paragraphs, Geely said Proton will gain access market such as Malaysia, India, Australia and Britain.


The headline questioning the statement from former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed when he said “I am a sissy. I cry even if Malaysian are dry-eyed. My child (refer to Proton) is lost. And soon my country. Please excuse me.” The writer of the news is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of News Straits Times Press (NSTP), Abdul Jalil Hamid. So the headline sounds insinuation to the former prime minister since him against the UMNO and go to opposition party. Since NSTP owned by Media Prima. And Media Prima is a medium for the political party (UMNO) to deliver their objective of party and so the propaganda of the party. The headline obviously referred direct to the former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamed. The News Straits Times (NST) comes out this topic after four days the announcement was made. In this news, NST used the sentiment of national pride and give back the fact and picturing the situation to attack Mahathir back about his decision during his era when he being the Prime Minister of Malaysia. NST also stated the fact about Proton situation before the company from China bought the stake till 49.9 percent. The agenda can be seen in the news articles is the main purpose of NST support government and want to say that the decision making by the Proton to sell the stake to Geely is the right decision. In the meantime, NST also stated Proton has two attempts to cooperate in producing a car with Indonesia but fell through. This prove with NST stated, while Mahathir still Minister of Trade and Industry, he has contacted Mitsubishi but narrow circle of Malaysian was engaged in the negotiations since Proton have problems started its production. The news published by NST does not state when the Mahathir come out the statement? Also does not mention either the statement from Mahathir is actually relevant or not. So for this news, we can see how one issue happened can be related to other issues. NST using political tactics to against the opposite party since Mahathir turned away from UMNO.

The second issues in comparative news related to Indonesia in flag flap in the Sea Games 2017, Kuala Lumpur. The mistake, which makes the red and white Indonesian flag resembles Poland’s has caused anger among Indonesian. The mistake shows negligence and demanded the guidebook was withdrawn and a new version printed. Even though Malaysian have apology regarding the mistake, still the anger of Indonesian were spreading and “#shameonyouMalaysia” has become a popular hashtag on August 2017. Even in Malaysian side, Youth and Sports Minister of Malaysia, Khairy Jamaluddin apologized on behalf Malaysian and counterpart Youth and Sports Minister of Indonesia, Imam Nahrawi.


Al Jazeera main agenda that can be observed from the reporting is that the organization wants the governments of Malaysia to feel sorry because the wrong doing were humiliated Indonesian. They also state that Indonesia appears to have taken particular offence because the guidebook was distributed to VIPs during opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur for the 29th SEA Games and only its flag was shown incorrectly. News published by Al Jazeera is always accompanied by sources. Even Al Jazeera has their own intention but still they report it for two sides from Malaysia and Indonesia. Al Jazeera even stated in the news that Khairy says the guidebook will be corrected and reprinted and he felt regret of the mistake so much. Before the news written, Al Jazeera also look forward of what happened in Twitter regarding this issue. On Twitter, Indonesia said their flag represents the sacrifices of independence heroes and caused Malaysia of either being stupid or deliberately misprint it. Last but not least, Al Jazeera mentioned that Malaysia and Indonesia often trade accusation of stealing the other’s food and culture even both country share a similar language and majority nations are Muslim.


The headline from The Star show the news will tell what behind the headline is. Regarding the issues, The Star stated in the first paragraph mishandling of a nation’s flag is such a sensitive issue. This is because the flag represents the country itself. Even the apologies come swiftly. But still the embarrassing mistake was made. Source: Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman; Youth and Sports Minister of Indonesia, Imam Nahrawi and Youth and Sports Minister of Malaysia, Khairy Jamaluddin. The Star agenda can be seen to clarify and tell the history behind the flip flag that happened in the world. The news also has stated the reason why some of countries flip the flag. There is symbolic of collective signal of national distress. But that happened fortunately. In Malaysia, it is unfortunately. Based on the regulations that has prohibited if the flying of their national flag in reverse or upside down if it acceptance. In America, the flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property. The Star journalist made news from different source and it trusted. The Star has taken the example from America perspectives, when the Americans did and urged their fellow citizens to do as protest against their increasingly unpopular President Donald Trump. That would signal that the United States is a country where the president is not above the law. The journalist also stated the national flags are a relatively new phenomenon. The Star also brings the cases happened in Canada versus United States during the league baseball tournament in Georgia. It was seen on live broadcast and made newspaper headlines the next day. It makes the anger from the fans and the nationality. Lastly, the message The Star wanted to deliver is on how to overcome the problem is not by fighting or accusing but settle it down gently and wisely. Sense of humor always helps to defuse tense situations and quick thinking helps solve the problems. Open minded because everyone makes mistakes. Forgive and forget to bring the joy for both nation.


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