Opposition-Utusan war moves to KT

, The Edge

PAS’ allegation that Utusan Malaysia had deliberately misquoted its candidate in an article has re-ignited the row between the newspaper and Pakatan Rakyat.

During its daily press briefing at its operation centre, PAS Terengganu state commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali said that a word was dropped from the published interview with the party’s candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut to reflect poorly on his statement.

“Today’s (Sunday) Mingguan Malaysia carried an interview with the candidates Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh (BN) and Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut.

“The paper quoted Abdul Wahid as saying that the previous MP here, Datuk Razali Ismail, had won the 2004 and 2008 parliamentary elections in KT because he was seen as clean.”

“The paper further quoted Abdul Wahid as saying ‘I knew the candidate well. He was very professional and is involved in corruption’,” said Mustafa.

“The words used here are wrong and I believe there was a deliberate act of dropping the word “wasn’t” as in “wasn’t involved in corruption” instead of what was carried.

“I think this hardly happens in journalism and there was a deliberate attempt here to quote Abdul Wahid as saying that Razali practised corruption,” said Mustafa.

“This is a grave error and Utusan should make a correction and apologise for their mistake before we take the next course of action.”

On Dec 23, the High Court awarded PAS MP for Pokok Sena Mahfuz Omar damages worth RM120,000 for libellous words published by Utusan against him.

Judicial Commissioner Mohd Yazid Mustafa, in his decision, held that the words published in the Utusan article headlined “Demonstrasi-Mahfuz isytihar bersama Keadilan” on March 4, 2001, were libellous with the intention of smearing Mahfuz’s reputation.

Mustafa also accused the government of using Biro Tata Negara to drum up support for Umno and its policies.

“BTN had a programme at Sekolah Syed Abdul Malik yesterday and they held a special session for all the religious teachers… In the special session, issues of Malay supremacy were raised to incite racial hatred,” said the PAS by-election director.

Normally BTN has courses for the civil service, said Mustafa, but here, it is being used to help directly influence the by-election.

He also complained about BN using government functions to introduce Wan Farid and canvass votes for him.

Meanwhile, deputy state commissioner Datuk Wan Mutalib Embong dismissed claims that the oil royalty issue would end when Petronas remits the money directly to the state government from March onwards.

According to Wan Mutalib, although Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said said the state would withdraw its civil suit against the federal government after Petronas begins paying, it would not solve the problem as there was still the issue of unsubstantiated oil royalties.