‘Utusan’ man suspends column

(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Utusan Malaysia assistant chief editor Zaini Hassan has tentatively stopped his weekly “Cuit” column following three police reports lodged against him and the Malay daily.

Zaini, through his column last week, was alleged to have written a racist article entitled “India di India, India di Malaysia” (Indians in India, Indians in Malaysia) that could stoke racial tension in the country.

Zaini’s space in Utusan Malaysia yesterday only carried an announcement on him going “on strike” and the details of the police reports against him.

A caricature of Zaini sitting in front of a computer with his hands and legs tied and his mouth sealed with plasters was drawn on the right side of the column.

The word tutup (shut down) was also pasted on the computer monitor.

The column stated that the first police report was lodged on Dec 10 at Sentul police station by MIC youth member T. Padmanathan.

Padmanathan, in his report, claimed that the daily had “crossed the line” in press freedom and the statement could cause disharmony, affect the Malaysian Indians’ reputation and create dissatisfaction among the community in the country.

He said based on the article, Zaini could have referred to one of the members of parliament, but Zaini had abused his freedom as a writer as the article could spark off racial tension.

Two more police reports against Zaini and Utusan Malaysia were lodged in Perak and Klang.

A copy of the daily was also burnt in Klang.