Thursday, October 26, 2006

Spotlight on Klang assemblyman

The Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah expresses displeasure at the controversy surrounding Port Klang assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Md Deros’ palatial new home, and demands to meet up. As everyone in Malaysia knows –thanks to The Sun’s expose – Datuk Zakaria not only built a four-storey mansion without appropriate approval, reports have surfaced that he is apparently the owner of an illegal satay stall as well. Klang residents who questioned the haste over the demolishing of a rival satay stall owned by a licensed owner (for a minor bylaw infringement) are understandably incredulous. Should not the Datuk’s ‘illegal’ construction be torn down too?

So what next? Abuse and disregard for the law by politicians and their appointees are so commonplace the cynical public is not holding its breath. But comments like this from a close friend of Datuk Zakaria reveal the extent of muddled thinking prevalent in some quarters:

Your newspaper should stop writing about the house or even the council post. Abang worked hard to come up from a railway gatekeeper, restaurant waiter and an office boy to what he is today and now you reporters are going to destroy him.”

The Sun has seen it's circulation numbers go up in the last year and it is stories like this that has contibuted to its enormous appeal. The public-spirited free paper ought to be applauded for the good work it is doing. Press liberty is thin ice in the country, but The Sun has been taking brave steps forward and I for one am a hearty supporter. You can read the paper for free online if you can't find one at a 7 Eleven or petrol station nearby.

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