KUALA LUMPUR: Newspaper vendors here lodged a police report against an English language tabloid for naming several MIC figures as “low caste” Indians in an article.
Several MIC Youth members have also lodged reports against the newspaper while an MIC Youth delegation submitted a memorandum of protest to the newspaper yesterday.
Selangor and Federal Territories News Vendors Association president Datuk N. Muneandy, accompanied by vendors, lodged a report at the Brickfields police station yesterday.
The association demanded an apology from the newsaper and pressed for the writer to be sacked. He said the report had hurt the integrity of the Malaysian Tamil community and tarnished the individuals’ pride.
“The word is very insulting and is taboo among Indians. The writer clearly does not know anything about being Tamil. It is unnecessary (to state the candidates’ castes). Here, we are talking about 1Malaysia. We don’t encourage and practise the caste system here,” he said.
“Calling someone ‘pariah’ is too much. In India, you would be jailed for 10 years for using that term on someone,” he said.
The association stopped distributing the newspaper from yesterday and will continue to do so until an apology is made, Muneandy said.
In the article headlined ‘MIC battles caste politics’, the newspaper wrote about caste issues in the coming MIC election and revealed the castes that several leaders belonged to, with their names and pictures published.
It mentioned the Devar, Mudaliar, Kongu Gounder, Chettiar and Pariah castes. Muneandy denied that he had any political agenda, adding that the association viewed the naming of individuals as “pariahs” as a form of personal attack.
MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, in a statement, said the party was investigating certain party leaders following the article. He said the party was also probing their involvement with “outside forces” namely some businessmen who had harboured ill-intentions against it.
He added that the MIC wanted the Home Ministry to take action against the paper for publishing the caste issue.
One thing I learned from journalism is responsible reporting.If you incite hatred through your writing, you are to blame for the reprecussions.The race card has long been used as a yardstick in bad reporting and a recent
article from the country's oldest tabloid was no exception.How did the Editor allow the usage of the word "pariah" without questioning its
implications? Similarly, some years back, a writer from the oldest newspaper in the country
quoted a Portuguese decendant in Malacca as saying: "We were the bastards
they left behind.."This prompted the people of the Portuguese settlement in Ujong Pasir to throw a fit
and blurted out some really unpleasant words.Damage control had to be done and two Editors were rushed down to Malacca on
New Year's eve to resolve the issue.Apologies accepted, but the damage has been done.You cannot retract what you have printed out beause it goes down in history.The said writer is still going about her business and her Editor has since been
promoted to do bigger things in the corporation.What is questionable here -- is the integrity of the writer.Way I see it, if you put someone without any journalistic experience to the fore,
these are the lashbacks that you will have to face.In the case of the tabliod writer who is now facing the fire, even the most
experience person can make mistakes.But labelling a bunch of people from a political party as "pariah" is something that
is beyond redemption.The guy who wrote it may have taken a swipe at the party, but it backfired. In the days to come, its a matter of who's head is going to roll.Having read the situation, I think the writer would have to go. For good.
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