The Present and Future for LGBT Youth in Malaysia

by Wan Allef Elfi Danial bin Wan Sukeri

Lights. Gone. Before. Time. This is not the actual acronym for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual) but rather an interesting analogy that perfectly describes the LGBT youth in Malaysia. The LGBT community is often considered as the scourge of the society due its members’ lifestyle, which was perceived as immoral and unnatural. Malaysia is notorious for its ban on homosexuality in which any sexual acts involving same sex individuals are heavily frowned upon and in some cases, punishable by law. A popular case involving the public caning of two lesbians who were caught committing sexual acts in a car (Lamb, 2018) is a distinguishable example. But rather than dwelling on the past, I would like to talk about the present and future concerning the LGBT youth in Malaysia.

From showing signs of conflicting qualities, such as men femininity or women masculinity to dressing up differently from the norms of fashion, Malaysian LGBT youths are constantly under attack in Malaysia. However, a study titled How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexual and Reproductive Health conducted by Dan Cox and Robert P. Jones from the Public Religion Research Institute indicated that millennials are more accepting towards homosexuality compared with the people of the previous generation (Felicetti, 2015). Furthermore, they also find it difficult to express themselves within a safe space. Even posting any LGBT-related matters on social media platforms warrants them full-fledged discrimination and hatred from society. This fear is the main reason of why many people from the LGBT community are discreet on their sexuality and refuse to further showcase their talents and abilities to the world. Without a proper platform and support from the society, LGBT youth will fade into the background, their talents grow unpolished and their confidence turned nil. Eventually, the spark that once resides in them will grow weaker, as well and their dreams become forgotten.

It is depressing to know that Malaysia is oblivious from the creativity, achievements and amazing ideas that can be produced by the LGBT youth. LGBT youth can never find the opportunity to shine and display their talents properly. The LGBT community in Malaysia should come together and strive for the similar purpose and goals, not fighting for the rights that obviously go beyond the tolerance of religion, such as same-sex marriage and gender change, but instead for the protection against being discriminated, bullied and abused. Hopefully, the future generation is inspired to open their eyes and mind to see the suffering and torment faced by the LGBT community whilst providing protection to them when needed. Empathy is a treasure that needs to be nurtured within the younger generation. Aside from that, I also hope that young LGBT representatives are given a fair and equal chance to be featured in various fields, such as entertainment, economy and politics. In my opinion, everyone should have the same rights to contribute to this blessed land.

It is very crucial to note that the chances of LGBT youth exposed to all types of bullying are fairly high. These bullying activities if not prevented at a young age, can lead to worse repercussions in the future, such as physical abuse and murder. However, it is upsetting to consider a person getting murdered just for loving another person. It is sad and frightening to see people justifying these horrible acts for the sake of preserving Islam sanctity. As days past by and we are inching closer to the year of 2020, the cases of LGBT misfortunes seem to be rising at an alarming rate. In 2018, a video of two men being beaten up by a group of people for allegedly having sex in a car in Kuala Lumpur went viral and caused uproar among the Malaysian society (Adam, 2018). Such similar incidents are likely to occur again if no safety is guaranteed for the LGBT community. Apart from that, this issue can sprout other concerns, such as the increasing cases of LGBT youth affected by mental health risks, often leading to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. A study done by Meyer (2003) showed that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination towards the LGBT community create a hostile and stressful social environment for them that lead to mental health problems. To make things worse, the society seems to be satisfied in pushing them, the LGBT community, to the edge of the cliff.

Islam is a religion of peace and perfection. But the Muslims are not. There have been guidelines and proper methods in handling a phenomenon like this. Unfortunately, some people took matters into their own hands in dealing with homosexuality issues. To many, inflicting pain and abuse upon the LGBT community is a justifiable act. If this behaviour is made into common tradition and hatred is spread, the LGBT youth will face a bleak future. In June 2017, a teenager from Penang was beaten and raped by a gang of young men for having effeminate traits (Thiagarajan, 2017). 18-year-old T. Nhaveen was brutally assaulted and ended up being brain-dead from the various wounds that he sustained on his head, hips and multiple burn marks on his back (Thiagarajan, 2017). Unfortunately, Nhaveen did not survive from the incident and died later on, which led to the case being reclassified as murder (Logeiswary & Sekaran, 2017). Is this the life that the LGBT community has to endure? It seems like being a heterosexual is a privilege.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister of Malaysia has released his statement on LGBT rights in Malaysia by stating that their lifestyle will not be part of the nation’s value system (Pillai, 2018). In order to find solace within the society, LGBT community depends on the millennial’s perception and acceptance towards their rights as those millennials are the future of the country. This is where the upcoming generation, regardless of their sexuality differences, plays a vital part in securing a better future for their homosexual allies. Decades ago, homosexuality topics are considered as a strong taboo and are often refrained from being discussed in households and school settings. Undoubtedly, this has resulted in various repercussions, such as parents of LGBT individuals not knowing the correct way to show support, the society finding it enjoyable to bully effeminate boys, ridiculing masculine girls and many more.

In Western countries, such as the United States, LGBT communities are given rights to be represented in media and entertainment although the appearances are still rather marginal. Some LGBT youth consisting of celebrities are sculpted into icons and followed by millions of fans across the globe. However, this situation is non-existent in Malaysia. This is due to the discrimination woven through decades of fear mongering towards the LGBT community the second their sexuality is revealed. This further pushes the possibilities of LGBT community hiding behind masks and suppressing their skills. Aside from that, a survey conducted by the trend forecasting agency, J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, young Americans aged 13 to 20 were discovered to be far more open-minded and tolerant than the older millennial groups regarding the issues of gender and sexuality (Zing, 2016). Lastly, the millennials provide their support in increasing government funding towards the prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS and accept more LGBT immigrants from other countries that criminalize sexuality (Cohen, 2018).

In short, the LGBT community, especially those from the younger generation, should not be hindered from expressing their true self and showcasing their talents, abilities and ideas. Hopefully, Malaysians will learn to be more understanding and accepting towards the LGBT community. This is easier in the current proliferation of media technology. With the help of the Internet, the younger generation nowadays is broadly exposed to differences of race, religion and culture, feminism, gay rights and other pertaining global issues (DiSabito, 2014). Additionally, LGBT youths need to be assured that the future can hold a bright prospect for them. Thus, Malaysians must come together to achieve undisputable harmony and democracy.

References

Adam, M. (28 December, 2018). Malaysian men beaten up and dragged out of car for ‘having gay sex’. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Pink News: https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/12/27/malaysian-men-beaten-up-gay-sex/

Cohen, C. J. (10 July, 2018). Millennials Support LGBT Rights But Take Issue With ‘Homosexuality’. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from Advocate: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2018/7/10/millennials-support-lgbt-rights-take-issue-homosexuality

DiSabito, A. (4 March, 2014). Millennials are making the world a better place. Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from Daily Collegian: https://dailycollegian.com/2014/03/millennials-are-making-the-world-a-better-place/

Felicetti, R. (15 April, 2015). Millennials: More Accepting of Homosexuality? Retrieved 10 January, 2019, from The Outlook: https://outlook.monmouth.edu/news/30-volume-86-fall-2014-spring-2015/2578-millennials-more-accepting-of-homosexuality

Lamb, K. (2018, September 3). Women caned in Malaysia for attempting to have lesbian sex. Retrieved from TheGuardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/women-caned-in-malaysia-for-attempting-to-have-lesbian-sex

Logeiswary, T., & Sekaran, R. (16 June, 2017). Teen bully victim Nhaveen dies. Retrieved 11 January, 2019, from The Star: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/16/teen-bully-victim-nhaveen-dies-family-and-friends-fill-hospital-grounds-grieving-and-fuming-over-boy/

Meyer, I. H. (2003). Prejudice, Social Stress, and Mental Health in Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual. American Psychological Association, 674-692.

Pillai, V. (21 September, 2018). No way we’ll recognise gay rights in Malaysia, says Dr M. Retrieved 20 December, 2018, from freemalaysiatoday.com: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/09/21/no-way-well-recognise-gay-rights-in-malaysia-says-dr-m/

Thiagarajan, T. (2017, June 13). Teenager from Penang Beaten and Sodomised for Being ‘Effeminate’ Now Brain-dead. Retrieved from World of Buzz: https://www.worldofbuzz.com/teenager-penang-beaten-sodomised-effeminate-now-brain-dead/

Zing, T. (10 March, 2016). Teens These Days Are Queer AF, New Study Says. Retrieved 8 January, 2019, from Broadly: https://broadly.vice.com/en_us/article/kb4dvz/teens-these-days-are-queer-af-new-study-says


Significant Comeback at a Significant Age : Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

by Anida binti Mohd. Tahrim

Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad is a figure who was born on July 10, 1925. Happily married to Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah binti Haji Mohamad Ali, Tun Dr. Mahathir was a Prime Minister of Malaysia for a period of 22 years from 1981 to 2003, administrating Malaysia as the longest serving Prime Minister before the recent comeback. Tun Dr. Mahathir who was born and raised in Alor Setar, Kedah became a medical doctor and started his political career in 1946. In 1976, Tun Dr. Mahathir rose as the Deputy Prime Minister, and in 1981 Tun sworn as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. Tun Dr. Mahathir however plunged a bombshell in the midst of the three days national conference of United Malays National Organization (UMNO) by announcing his resignation on June 22, 2002. This article will discuss various perspectives and angles on how the international media approached and evaluated this significant prolific individual, not to mention the success that he has brought to the opposition parties for winning the recent GE-14, but the opportunity to get to know also who is Tun Dr. Mahathir from their eyes of international media.

In 2015, Post Magazine, a British magazine which first published in 1840 posted a write up with a headline of “Why Mahathir Mohamad Can’t Keep Out of Malaysian Politics”. The article highlighted on how Tun Dr. Mahathir adapted to the life of an ordinary person the moment he stepped down on October 30, 2003. Tun Dr. Mahathir spoke to the writer, Chris Wright on June 20, 2015, 12 years after he has resigned as a Prime Minister that it was very unsettling for him to move away from a position of power to being just an ordinary person. Tun Dr. Mahathir even thought it was a good timing for him to relax and write his memoirs. Jokingly shared that he should retire and not to interfere in any political matters, knowing that policy is not implemented correctly triggered him to have his say. The discussion also led to a query on Tun Dr. Mahathir’s view on the freedom of the press. Chris Wright quoted Tun Dr. Mahathir explaining that there is no such thing as an absolute freedom of the press, not even in the most advanced countries in the world. Tun Dr. Mahathir emphasized that ‘there are things you just don’t say’ as it may destabilize the environment of a nation that has three races and 29 different tribes.

Due to the long tenure as a politician, his observation continues on any matter involving Malaysia political scene. The significance of his age has always been a part of news and media headline. Based on the article published by Mail Online on the 8th January 2018, with a headline of ‘Malaysia’s Mahathir, 92, Eyes Comeback in Opposition He Once Crushed’, Tun Dr. Mahathir was stated as a leader who is helming the opposition party that he used to opposed to when he was in power. Mail Online or also known as dailymail.co.uk is the website of the Daily Mail, a newspaper in the United Kingdom also wrote that Tun Dr. Mahathir is seen as the oldest leader who will be back to his post as a Prime Minister if his coalition party wins in the general election. In related to the success of the opposition party winning GE-14 headed together by Tun Dr. Mahathir, Bloomberg, a private media company headquartered in New York wrote an article with a headline of ‘Mahathir Wins in Historic Malaysia Power Shift’ highlighted that his objective is not to seek revenge but to reinstate the rule of law. Bloomberg also quoted a statement by Bridget Welsh, a political scientist at John Cabot University in Rome who specializes in Southeast Asia stating that the situation occurred is considered as Malaysian tsunami across the board and the country with Tun Dr. Mahathir as the game changer. BBC News through a news article on 7th May 2018 with the headline ‘Malaysia Elections: Could Mahathir Mohamad Make a Comeback?’ started the article with a description of a video where Tun Dr. Mahathir was looking in the eyes of a young Malay girl explaining that he is already old and has little time left to rebuild Malaysia, perhaps because of the mistakes that he has made in the past.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, a figura who is going strong at 92

 

With the victory of the historic GE-14, news of Tun Dr. Mahathir sworn as the latest Malaysia Prime Minister was published by many international media, highlighting his shocking comeback at his remarkable age, sworn based on a stunning result and the impact that he will implement as the latest Prime Minister. Financial Times on May 10, 2018 published an article with the headline of ‘Mahathir Sworn in as Malaysian Premier After Stunning Poll Win’, while Al Jazeera came out with a straight forward headline which was ‘Mohamad Mahathir Sworn in as New Leader of Malaysia’. The Telegraph concluded the ceremony by emphasizing Tun Dr. Mahathir’s age as the highlight of their headline, ‘Mahathir Mohamad, 92, sworn in as World’s Oldest Elected Leader After Shock Win in Malaysia’, while The Wall Street of Journal instilled an impact of foreign investment in Malaysia by sharing a headline ‘Malaysia’s Mahathir Sworn In, Signals Tougher Line on China’.

 

Tun Mahathir sworn in as Malaysia’s 7th Prime Minister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local and Foreign Media Coverage on Rosmah Mansur the First Lady Extravagant Lifestyle Versus 1MDB Scandal

Written by Nuremy

Local Media: The Star/ Astro Awani

Most of Malaysian media are controlled by the government in particularly the mainstream media such as electronic, newspapers and broadcast news. This is because they need to apply for broadcast license. The mainstream media are not allowed to post or report on any negative news pertaining to the government. Their license might be revoked. The government has power over the media and they are the biggest stakeholder. For example, mainstream media such as RTM owned by the government in hope of exercising political and economic power of the ruling parties. That is why, none of the mainstream local media is reporting about the issue of Rosmah Mansor luxurious lifestyle.

A news report was taken from The Star online dated 7th April 2013 regarding the issue of the diamond ring from the refine jeweler Jacob and Co amounting to US8 million (24 million). The reporting has created havoc among the nation as the first lady could afford to buy such ring. The Star claimed that Datin Rosmah Mansor did not purchase the blue grade cushion diamond ring instead it was for viewing purpose by the mother of Nazarbayev, which is the mother to Rosmah’s daughter’s fiancé (www.thestar.com.my, 2013).

1MDB Scandal

Looking at one of the news reporting by Astro Awani dated March 2016, it is clearly seen that the organisation is trying to play safe in reporting the 1MDB case. Astro Awani published that Bank Negara could not issue any statement on the funds pertaining to the overseas invesment amounting to $1.38 billion US dollars as there was no confirmation on the issue at that time.

The government need to give more freedom to our local mainstream media and not being biased so that the people right to know accurate information are not deprive. The news should be transparent so that the public would have the opportunity to know the truth and make decision upon analysing the news by themselves. The media have shape people’s mind due to the ownership of the media organisation.

International Media: The Wall Street Journal/ BBC

A news report from The Wall Street Journal dated September 12 2016, claimed that Datin Paduka Sri Rosmah Mansor spent US$6 million on clothes, shoes and jewelry between 2008 and 2015. They also showed a credit card document of her spending at London’s Harrods department store, Sacks Fifth Avenue of New York and many high end shops. They also revealed that Rosmah Mansor has also been seen at high-society events in Malaysia carrying numerous Crocodile-skin Birkin bags which is priced at US$100,000.

If we look at the BBC news they even highlighted the photos of Rosmah Mansor , Dato Seri Najib and two other people in a form of caricature cartoon, these people were accussed being involved in the 1MDB fund by puchasing properties and collaborating in producing a movie staring Leonardo Decaprio. The photo will not be published in Malaysian media in order to protect the ruling party. As compared to Image 3 from Awani, the photo or visual showed in the article is a graphic illustration whereas 1MDB is in the printed version . This showed that the ruling party controlled the media and they unable to report or even published photos that could tarnish the image of the ruling party.

Transgender –Reports from the Utusan Malaysia and The Herald.

Written by Rafidah Abdul Aziz

Transgender people refer to a group of people that has a gender expression or identity, which differs from the actual or assigned sex. This situation will results in gender dysphoria (GD) or gender identity disorder (GID), a strong negative feeling triggered by disconnecting feelings between a person’s gender and how that person perceives themselves. Anti-discrimination laws in most countries do not protect transgender people from discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Consequently, transgender people in most cities and states faced discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives.

Local Media – Utusan Malaysia

The paper is recognized as Malaysia’s only broadsheet newspaper in a national language, even when all of other newspaper changed their format into tabloid. It has over 32 pages of news and current affairs, with regular supplements, which focused in such diverse topics as entertainment, fashion, music, health, technology and politics.

International Media – The Herald

It was known as Evening Herald on November 2000, until it changed its name to The Herald on 2013. The Herald as it is commonly known today is a national newspaper owned by the Irish Independent Group of newspapers and has continued since 1891 to have a nationwide circulation although the paper is heavily associated with Dublin.

Transgender people in Ireland got their right and legal recognition of their status after Gender Recognition Act was passed that allow them to change their legal gender with no medical or state intervention. However, the right to choose legal gender is not ‘applicable’ in Malaysia. There is no law or legal protection to transgender people. Malaysia did not allowed the influence of western socio-cultural views and practices on various aspects of life and on the intellectual engagement with world cultures and religion.

It can be seen that western media, such as The Herald, is promoting the transgender people, because it is the new culture that happens today. It is a new way of life, a new acceptance of the group of people. These characters are usually looked as funny, cute and endearing. Even though there are acceptances in Malaysia towards transgender people, still, this group of people undergoes extreme levels of stigmatisation and discrimination, especially in media reporting. Utusan Malaysia for instance, did not give positive highlight, or news that back up the transgender. Utusan Malaysia, as the main reading material for Malay and Muslim, they have to put the transgender issue as negative as it is the way of life that is prohibited in Islam.

Based on Malaysia’s media context, there are many negative consequences arises from LGBT portrayal in the media. As compared to Western media, they want to bring more acceptance of this group of people.

Nuclear Feud – United States & North Korea

Written by Putera Muhammad

North Korea and the United States have been at odds ever since the US backed South Korea in the Korean War. Today, the US has 23,500 US troops stationed in South Korea. That country is also America’s sixth-largest trading, underscored by the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement that went into effect on March 15, 2012.

For these reasons, North Korea is not a fan of the United States. North Korean propaganda portrays America as an evil imperialist aggressor hell-bent on subjugating the Korean people. There is an entire museum dedicated to alleged American atrocities during the Korean War.

There have been a number of North Korean missile tests. North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), in what have been interpreted as political gestures. As of 30 November 2017, North Korea has carried out some 117 tests of strategic missiles since its first such test in 1984. 15 were carried out under the rule of Kim Il-sung and 16 under Kim Jong-Il. Under Kim Jong-un, more than 80 tests have been undertaken.

The US and North Korea are in the middle of a war of words. President Donald Trump tweeted on January 2 that he has a “Nuclear Button” on his desk that is “much bigger & more powerful” than North Korea’s — even though that button does not exist. Trump’s tweet was in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Day speech in which he said the US should know “a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office, and this is just a reality, not a threat.”

Relationship between Malaysia and North Korea goes back and forth. It started on 30 June 1973. This was part of a broader campaign by North Korea to enhance its ties with the developing world. The North Korean embassy was opened in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 along with the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang.

Relations between both countries improved and in 2009, Malaysia became the first country whose citizens were able to travel to North Korea without a visa. In 2013, the supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un received an honorary doctorate from HELP University, a Malaysian university. Relations between the two countries started to deteriorate in 2017, in the aftermath of the assassination of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia.

In the US and North Korea “Nuclear” issue, western and Malaysian media have the same perspective which are against the feud. North Korea has always been criticized for Kim Jong Un decision to continue with nuclear development and missile testing. News reports and journalists on social media also criticized President Trump for his response on Twitter to a nuclear war threat from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and held it up as evidence that Trump is unfit to lead the nation. A report in the New York Times called Trump’s comment was a boast in “strikingly playground terms.”

On a personal view, journalists should stop writing and broadcasting about the North Korea situation as if everything had changed and war is very near. North Korea has been seeking a usable nuclear resource for years. Its latest underground nuclear test had a higher yield than earlier detonations, about four to five times the size of the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The larger yield could have come from a fission bomb ‘boosted’ with hydrogen isotopes or a true fusion weapon, commonly known as a hydrogen bomb; experts cannot be sure which, based on the information currently available.

Daily Mail and The Straits Time News Coverage on European Tourists Naked on Top of Mount Kinabalu

Written by Noor Zahra Zamalik

Four tourists who were identified as German, British, Canadian and Dutch have been detained for allegedly stripping on top of Mount Kinabalu, Sabah. There were ten tourists including four women and six men in a group of twenty-seven Europeans climbing the mountain as they left the main group and headed to South Peak where they stripped and ignored warnings by their tour guide to stop their indecent acts who then reported the incident to the department officers followed by a police report. A few days after the incident, 137 climbers were stranded due to a strong earthquake with a few killed. The Kadazan Dusuns believed that the earthquake occurred due to the wrath of the spirit over the tourists’ misbehavior. The police arrested the four Europeans, identified as Eleanor Hawkins, Dylan Snell, Lindsey and Danielle Peterson. They were sentenced for three days’ jail and a fine of RM 3,000 each by the Magistrate Court of Sabah in accordance with the charges under section 294(a) Penal Code for committing an obscene act in Public.

Identity

Daily Mail

Daily Mail is one of British daily middle-market tabloids that is owned by the Daily and General Trust and it is published in London. It was launched in 1896 by Alfred Harmsworth who then was Lord of Northcliffe. He formed a news agency partnership with his brother, Harold. In 1930’s, the news editorial supported Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler and praised Nazi’s regime’s accomplishment as well as subsequently, used the news as propaganda to reach its audiences.

Today, the Daily Mail is led by a great-grandson of the founder, Jonathan Harmsworth whilst the current editor is Paul Dacre. The news agency caters their audience by providing selective news coverage on local and international incidents. Its contents are reliable but nevertheless being questioned and criticized for publishing sensational headlines and at times, the information is seemed to be exaggerating and unreliable. Besides, the news covers used provocative headlines to attract its readers. In view of this, the news portal has twisted one of its headlines “Give us ten buffalo or face three months in prison: Tribal demands ‘fine’ from tourists caught stripping naked on Malaysian mountain to avoid prison” where it exaggerates, exploits and provokes people to discuss and criticises Malaysia over the issue.

The Straits Times

The Straits Times is an English newspaper which was originally owned by Singapore Press Holding (SPH) established in 1845 during the early period of British colonial rule. The newspaper was a mainstream media in Singapore and delivers extensive news coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle with a timely updates. The news provides balance and neutral report which suits their core values to excite its audience; hence, it is regarded as reliable news reporting and able to educate its readers with clear explanation on certain issues whilst providing attractive headlines to catch readers’ attention. 

Propaganda

Daily Mail

The Daily Mail is known for delivering sensational news coverage in order to incite its audiences in discussing and debating controversial issues over the world. Going through the headlines and contents of the news, one observes that the Daily Mail manipulates news and headlines in many dimensions. For instance, “Give us 10 buffalo or face three months in prison” headline clearly showed it has misled the issued. The Native Court defines “Buffalo compensation” according to Sabah Customary law as those who are found guilty would require them to pay ‘sogit’ (compensation) in the form of buffalo. It is clear that the Daily Mail had twisted and exploited the story of “buffalo compensation” so that the four charged for public indecency had to pay buffaloes to escape the jail term. The other twisted story was the occurrence of the earthquake was due to the wrath of the spirit which was essentially a manipulated facts and besides, there is element of bias where the news seems to favor the tourists despite committing public indecency. Hence, the style of reporting is frivolous and exaggerating with the intention to incite the readers.

The Straits Times

Based on The Straits Times’ coverage on the issue, its news reporting seem to be reliable and at the same time it achieves its objective besides providing a true picture of the incident. For example, it explained clearly about the “buffalo compensation” is one of the customary laws in Sabah which comes under the jurisdiction of the Native court practices. The other news was about the statement by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan explaining the Sabah earthquake that claimed the lives of 11 climbers was a result of the indecent act of the tourists which is contradicts with The Daily Mail’s news report. The news portal also helps to educate its audience of true news reporting which in essence should be transparent. Overall, the news presents balance and fair reporting which reflects its core values of integrity, excellence and encompassing changes, particularly.

Practicality

Daily Mail

Daily Mail consistently updates their news and covers controversial headlines in order to attract readers’ attention which in their view is a development of journalism. However, its updated news is sensational and hot topics for discussion despite omitting some of the material facts of the whole story which appear in other sources like The Daily Telegraph and Malay Mail Online as follow-up. In terms of pictures, they use personal pictures of the tourists from their Facebook as well as other media sources and gives credit to the individual persons. These can be seen in several misleading articles such as “Canadian, Dutch, and German tourists who post naked on top of ‘sacred’ mountain are blamed by Malaysian government for causing earthquake that killed 16 people plus other misleading news. Nevertheless, the news portal is regarded as more liberal and they practice high level of freedom in reporting.

The Straits Times

As for The Straits Times, it is seemed maintain its consistency in updating their news plus using other sources for their news coverage. Besides, the news portal is also referred by other international news agency to identify the names of the four tourists as well as using their own picture and other media to publish in their portal with credits given on the picture. Apart from that the news portal is seen as exercising diligence in news reporting hence the news is written in structured manner in order to maintain its professionalism besides achieving its objective.

Child Pornography & Pedophile – Richard Huckle’s case

Written by Shafiaina

Richard Huckle case is one of the latest issue regarding to child pornography which involved two countries, Malaysia and British. Richard Huckle, 30, who from Ashford, Kent, was gained access to the children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia while posing as a Christian English teacher doing good deeds. Huckle, who worked as a freelance photographer who targeted Malaysian children while working in Malaysia faced multiple life sentences after admitting 71 offences of child sexual abuse.

He was charged under a number of offences against children between the ages of six months to 12 years old from 2006 till 2014. Through the offences, he was pleaded guilty to 22 carry discretionary life and 18 of these are multiple incident counts. This case has been reported widely by local and international news media.

A local news organisation, The Star online, with headline “Pedophile Richard Huckle who abused Malaysian children jailed for life” on June 6, 2016 reported that British police has arrested Huckle at London Gatwick Airport in December 2014 together with his heavily-encrypted computer and camera once he returned home from Malaysia to spend Christmas eve with his parents.

The media mentioned that Huckle was sentenced a minimum jail term of 23 years for his charges. The court heard that Huckle had written a specific guide to child abuse that he intended to publish for profit. Huckle posted pictures of the abuse of boys and girls on website True Love Zone (TLZ) together with the youngest victim believed to have been around six months old.

From international news coverage perspectives, this case was reported by several news media. The Independent with headline “Richard Huckle: Paedophile faces multiple life sentences for abusing “up to 200 children” in Malaysia” was covered this case on June 1, 2016.

The media also reported that the National Crime Agency officials have discovered a large amount of indecent pictures and videos Huckle took of himself abusing the girls and boys and over 20,000 indecent images were found on his computer while he was arrested on arrival gate at Gatwick Airport on December 19, 2014.

The comparison news coverage between local and international media can be seen through the content of the news itself. For local media like The Star Online, the Sun Daily and Malay Mail Online contents were gained from outside sources such as Reuters. The contents of the news described more about the amount of offences made by Richard Huckle and the decision made by the court. While, the news contents reported by international media were more detailed as the media revealed the consequences of the case from a different parties.

For the practicalities of the media, the local news media was hyperlinked reports from other local news media. The news information in The Star can be linked with Malay Mail Online. The local news media were acting ethically which reporting were made by using information from trusted source like Reuters and Bernama. The texts were excerpt from Malaysian Catholic Church theologian and interviewed had been done with the Malaysia Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak about his opinions regarding the Richard Huckle’s case.

CNN and Astro Awani reports on Rohingya refugees

Written by Aliya Soraya Shafiee

The Rohingya refugees are stateless Muslims minority in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, expected to have about 1 million people. Myanmar government or also known as Burma does not recognise them as citizens and does not even consider them as one of 135 recognized ethnic groups in Myanmmar. The country denoted Rohingyas as illegal immigrants, a view rooted in their heritage in Bangladesh. Though many Rohingyas have only known to be living in Myanmar, they are widely viewed as intruders from across the border. According to Human Rights Watch, the laws discriminated the Rohingya, infringing on their freedom of movement, education and employment. Their rights and ownership to the land and property are denied and the land on which they live can be taken away at any given time.

Identity

Cable News Network or famously known as CNN is the first television channel that solely provides news content for 24 hours in America. The channel which was launched on 1st June 1980, owned by Turner Broadcasting System and in 1996, it has become the subsidiary of Time Warner Incorporation.

Meanwhile, Astro Awani was established in 6th September. Formerly, it was known as Bloomberg Ria News and Astro News. Now, Astro Awani is one of Astro broadcast channel.

Practicality of the media

CNN reported from various angles as they did not focus on impact of the Myanmar refugees toward one country only. It focused on how other countries will or should react regarding on the issue and how they will tackle down the issue in order to help Myanmmar themselves. Apart from that, they focused more on humanitarian helps from the other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia. For example, in their reporting entitled “Migrant boat re-enters Malaysian waters after refusing offer to land: Thai officials”, CNN reported The Royal Thai Navy air-dropped food aid to hundreds of Rohingya migrants that were stranded on a stricken boat at the Southern Thailand. They also reported what kind of helps that were given such as medical aids from the International Organization of Migrants (OIM).

Meanwhile, during the cross-over studio discussion with Laura High, a Myanmmar Researcher from the Amnesty International, the news agency highlighted that Myanmmar Military was accused of torching Rohingya homes. During the reporting, the terms “blanket denials” by the Myanmmar was also being heavliy discussed, which also tells the audience on the political situation in the country itself.

Apart from that, CNN also urged the government of Myanmmar to allow the journalists to do the reporting in order to report the current situation in the area as it has been sealed for two months. CNN also higlighted that, there should be international pressures toward Myanmmar in order to solve this problem and only by this way, the military will called off this situation.

As for the Astro AWANI, their reporting focuses more on the Malaysian government only as most of their reporting mentioned about steps taken by Malaysian government regarding on this issue which can be seen in their reporting on “Malaysia urges D-8 to help Rohingya refugees”. In this reporting, it was said that Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said D-8 member states should assist the Rohingyas in whatever ways possible to alleviate their dire socio-economic situation.

We can see that in reporting of Rohingya refugees, CNN was being transparent. They also did an in-depth report on the Rohingya refugees and very detail in the timeline chronology of the case. Apart from that, quotes from the experts were also was included in their reporting.

As for Astro AWANI, their reporting was transparent. They also did the in-depth report of the Rohingya refugees. They did publised the timeline chronology also but not as detail as CNN as they did focus more on the impact of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia . Astro AWANI also quoted statements from the authority.

Overall, we can see that the reporting by CNN is more in-depth. Meanwhile, Astro AWANI only reported this issue on the ground, focusing on what is happening in Malaysia. The aid of still photos or probably videos would help the readers to have a better understanding regarding on this Rohingya issue and also help them to have more sensitvity towards the humanitarian issue.

Study Loan: Assisting or Torturing?

Written by Amirah Sohaimi

Have you pay off your student loans?

In the United States, student loans are the second largest debt form and constitute about 10.6% of all consumer debt. CNBC, a recognized business news channel reported that now 44 million Americans hold a total of more than 1.3 trillion USD in student loan debts.

The amount of student loan outstanding amounted to US $ 1.1 trillion (RM3.49 trillion), equivalent to about 6% of national debt. Financial experts in the United States predict that this will spark a financial crisis on the scale of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008. The crisis is caused by uncontrolled loans for property, even to those who cannot afford it.

A news coverage on NST reported that less than half (46.6 percent) borrowers pay their loans and a total of RM8.49 billion (USD2.081 billion) remains unpaid in 2015. With low wages and rising cost of living, many new graduates have income that is less than RM3, 860 per month and thus, they do not have sufficient income to repay the study loan, whether discount being offered or not.

Actually, the problems faced by the United States are similar to what Malaysia faces, perhaps more in some ways. One of the problem is that 40% of graduates are unemployed, and without employment, these young people cannot afford to repay their loans. Those who do may get help from their parents. Excellent student loans represent the amount of loans that have been issued to the borrower. This figure includes bad debts or loans where borrowers have failed to repay their loans.

NST mentioned that to help these students, the government has come up with several loan settlements. In the United States, the Education Department will provide a pardon based on how the borrower’s income is compared to the income of the graduates from the same vocational program. If they earn less than 50 percent of their colleagues, the Education Department will forgive their 100 percent loan. If the borrower’s income is comparable, they will receive less help.

However in Malaysia, PTPTN should not be expected to continue lending student loans with poor loan recovery performance. This is because it requires at least RM5 billion annually to meet the needs of the borrower – both existing borrowers who are still studying and new borrowers going to institutions of higher learning for the first time.

Education is very important. We should not portray that study loans are burdensome as it can weaken the spirit of the young generation who want to learn. We need to stop shouting about the common crisis and see how we can really help students access higher education and let’s impose solutions that improve access for low-income students rather than scare them off.

The issue of mass graves in Wang Kelian: News Reporting of New Straits Times and CNN

Written by Amni Ahmad

The media

The discovery of the mass graves in Wang Kelian which was believed as the victims of human trafficking has shocked Malaysian and people around the world. The two media organisations that reported on the issue of mass graves in Wang Kelian were New Straits Times and CNN. In this article, the writer intends to compare how the issue is presented on both media organisation. The New Straits Times is an English newspaper and the oldest newspaper in Malaysia. It started as a weekly journal that was printed in 1845. Whereas, Cable News Network (CNN) is a basic cable and satellite television news channel that based in America. This news channel owned by the Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner.

Practicalities of the Media

The issue was first reported by the New Straits Times, as they conducted an exclusive investigative reporting about the mass killings in Wang Kelian in 2015. Recently, the journalists revealed another new evidence that exposed the massive and coordinated cover-up regarding the issue. The investigative team conducted their investigation for two years to come out with such an article. This is very interesting as it requires such a long period of time to complete the report.

The journalists started the report by re-stating the details about the incident. This helps the readers to remember back to what has happened in 2015. The journalists also mentioned about their new evidence that they managed to gather throughout the investigation period. Not only that, the journalist also questioned about the action of the police that destroyed the camps before it is being processed and investigated by the forensic team. This becomes a big question in people’s mind. The questioning technique used in the news report is very effective as it increases the curiosity of the readers to know more about the incident.

In the news report, the journalists stated their efforts to get the evidence in many ways, such as conducting interviews with countless personalities who were directly involved in the case, re-check and verified the fact through official documents and reams of reports, and meet the witnesses and independent sources. They also went back to the crime scene where evidence of the victims’ torture and suffering are found. It showed how serious they are in investigating the issue.

Apart from that, New Straits Times journalists stated about their sources of information who directly involved with the case voluntarily shared the information with them. This is a strong evidence as he/she is someone who is relevant to the case share the information. The journalists also are ethical as they take care of their sources by not revealing the details about the information.

In addition, the journalist’s news report were accompanied with several photos that showed the condition at the crime scene. This is very helpful and interesting. The journalists also arranged the whole news report by providing sub heading which differentiates on topic to another topic. This includes “First Contact- The “Real” Version”, “The Contradicting Report”, and “The Other Shocking Find”. It is well organised. This is a long article, by doing this, it helps the readers to read and understand the story.

Meanwhile, the same issue also was reported on CNN. However, the reporting was only about the discovery that was made in 2015 and responses from a related party. There was no further report regarding the issue.

In the beginning of the news report, the journalist did mention that the information was taken from Bernama, the Malaysian state news agency. The first three paragraphs provide information about the discovery of the mass graves. It was quoted from the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar. Besides Bernama, the news report also was cited from Sunday, a Bangladesh state newspaper. From the report, the journalist highlighted the statement made by Bangladesh leader, Sheikh Hasina.

Besides that, the journalist also highlighted the issue of humanitarian faced by Southeast Asian nations. The journalist tends to show the correlation between the discovery of the mass graves and this issue. Furthermore, the news report also included the statement made by Malaysian Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to show his response. The journalists also mentioned the statement made by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak based on his tweet on Twitter.

The news story is divided into several sub-heading such as “We Will Find More”, “Bangladeshi PM: Punish migrants”, and “U.S. military request”. This makes it easier to be read. It can be considered as organised. In addition, there are several photos included in the news report. This includes the photo of Thailand Prime Minister, Najib’s tweet on his Twitter account which showed his feelings in regard to the issue, and migrants on the boat trying to survive.

Overall, the news report by CNN was not really in-depth as compared to New Straits Times. CNN only reported the news by referring to another media organisation while The New Straits Times reporting is an investigative reporting whereas CNN only report it based on the ground. The initiatives to include many sources should be praised. It gave a different perspective for the readers.

The writer feels that both of the media organisation should include graphic illustrations or visual to accompany the news report to make it more interesting. This is because the story was quite long. By using video, it helps people to understand the whole story easily.