THE chairman of Media Prima, Dato Seri FD Iskandar, has resorted to using me as an excuse to get rid of Dato Seri Ashraf Abdullah, group managing editor, news and current affairs, television networks, Media Prima Berhad.
Worse still, he told a pack of lies and deliberately misled the Prime Minister on the morning of Nov 28, by saying that I appeared on TV3 for 12 nights in a row and this had caused the ratings of TV3 to take a dramatic plunge.
It would be the height of reckless idiocy, in the absence of verifiable evidence by an accredited, professional TV rating agency, to claim my appearances on TV3 had been the cause of the plummeting popularity of TV3’s Buletin Utama.
It is too simplistic an explanation. I am flattered.
Let me put the record straight.
In October and November, I only appeared on TV3’s Buletin Utama on Oct 18 and, Nov 11 and 14, a total of 3 times and not the 12 he lied about to the Prime Minister.
Dato Seri Ashraf Abdullah is a thoroughly professional, highly respected and savvy media man.
It would be surprising were he to allow press statements more than 3 times a month from someone like me who has no official position in either government or politics.
I am a social activist with an abiding belief in the rule of law.
In brief, Dato Seri Ashraf Abdullah is someone who knows his onions.
I demand a public apology from Dato Seri FD Iskandar since he used my name to mislead the Prime Minister in furtherance of his personal agenda against Dato Seri Ashraf Abdullah.
I am an interested party in all of this because he has dragged me into what is apparently his sordid plan to push out his independent-minded professional managing editor by resorting to telling the Prime Minister blatant lies.
I am giving Dato Seri FD Iskandar one week from the date of the publication of this in the Malaysia Outlook news portal to make a public apology to me, and failing which I reserve the right to take such further action to protect my name and reputation.
We cannot have a bare-faced liar as the chairman of Media Prima, an important communications group that should be led by a person of the highest integrity.
This obviously has not been the case with the present chairman.
Public confidence cannot but suffer as a consequence of what has transpired.
If the chairman could mislead the PM with such untruths, just imagine what he would not do to the rest of us, ordinary members of the public.
I feel sorry for Dato Ashraf, a thoroughbred professional, having to work under a chairman who is a confirmed liar.
Even more sorry that he has to put up with someone who wants editorial control which is totally outside his remit.
As we all know, by practice, convention and tradition, the chairman has no say in the day to day editorial operations.
In his case he is only a non-executive chairman.
Only the editor-in-chief has complete control of the newsroom.
I honestly hope someone would uncover the real reasons why Dato Seri FD Iskandar is so keen on having absolute control over the newsroom in TV3.
Is it political or business interests that put his ambitions into overdrive?
I am made to understand that he wasn’t so happy when Tan Sri Muhyiddin was attacked a few times on TV3, and especially my media statement on the NCC2 that torpedoed the plan by a group opposed to the Prime Minister to set up an extra-parliamentary NGO-led law-making mechanism.
It is believed he has been working on the Prime Minister to appoint him head of the “Boffin Boys” – that very effective group of unconventional strategists working round the clock to protect the Prime Minister against media lies at home and abroad.
If he succeeds in convincing the PM, then I could only wish both of them the best of Malaysian luck.