James Wong Wing On
1:16pm, Thu: Whether infamous
American financier George Soros and his Open Society Institute
(OSI) financially support Malaysiakini.com or not is, to me, quite
Both the OSI, which administer
Soros' foundation, and malaysiakini have openly denied such an
allegation, and the Far Eastern Economic Review has also made
a clarification, albeit still not to the satisfaction of the parties
Assuming, and only assuming
for argument's sake, Soros and OSI really support Malaysiakini.com
financially, so what? What is the problem?
A case can indeed be argued
that we should thank Soros and OSI for supporting Prime Minister
Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Vision 2020 which envisage a psychological
liberated, scientific, smart and hi-tech society based on openness,
and which is epitomised by the Multimedia Super Corridor.
A successful billionaire having
faith in Malaysians should be awarded for successfully attracting
foreign direct investment (FDI), especially to the field deemed
most strategic for the transformation of the economy of Malaysia,
when times are bad.
And economists know that any
injection of funds from overseas, especially the United States,
lessens the pressure on the domestic financial system, and creates
jobs, increases tax revenues of the Malaysian government and stimulates
technology and knowledge transfer. The value is real and multiple
as economic students learn in their second-year macroeconomics.
What is the problem then? It is certainly not economic. It is
political, but whose politics?
The standard "Anti-Al Gore Script"
would pin it down to "imperialist interference into our national
sovereignty". For this line to really work now, it has to be proven
that Solomon Smith and Barney, which was engaged by the Malaysian
government as the financial consultant after the IMF option was
rejected, is truly "Marxist-Leninist" and "anti-imperialist".
Perhaps Malay Action Front leader
Ibrahim Ali who visited the socialist Cuba with Mahathir in late
1998 would take up the assignment to prove that Solomon Smith
and Barney is actually a Third World national liberation front.
What about the US Council of
Foreign Relations whose luncheon in US Mahathir attended and addressed
before the general elections of 1999? Didn't citizen Mahathir
attack fellow Malaysians in that luncheon held in US?
Of course, Malaysians he attacked
are affiliated to political parties not of his own. They are PAS
and Keadilan Malaysians. This is of course no secret as the spy-spook
and some paranoid people would like us to believe. It was all
published in the mainstream media then. What sovereignty? What
Jokes and satire aside, it is
important to know that the paramount criterion of judging a newspaper
is whether it presents factual news and reasoned opinions that
are balanced and fair to all parties concerned. It is also to
be judged by the quality, both intellectual and moral, of its
reporters and editors.
Has any newspaper in Malaysia
ever published regularly and prominently letters criticising itself,
or correcting mistakes and errors it itself has made? I have yet
to be enlightened by any veteran journalists.
Of course, all these arguments
are premised on the assumption that malaysiakini does receive
funds from Soros and OSI, and that assumption is wrong. Funded
or not by capitalist George Soros or communist Frederick Engels
(who really funded Karl Marx), I still enjoy reading malaysiakini
and regard it as an intelligent choice for smart Malaysians.
JAMES WONG WING ON, a former
MP and now a KL-based Mandarin opinion writer and columnist, read
political science and economics in Monash University, Melbourne,