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I was very disappointed to read in the NST today a report of Datuk Seri Syed Hamid’s statement criticising Senator T. Murugiah for taking up my complaint of poor food being served to ISA detainees. Murugiah is merely performing his duty as a public servant to check and verify my complaint and to recommend improvements, if thought fit.

Instead of appreciating the deputy minister’s positive response, Syed Hamid chosed to deride and insult him.

Syed Hamid’s action is adding insult to the injury I sufferred in my detention which was completely unjustified. By his action, Syed Hamid seems to condone the rabid (no pun intended) reaction of some media in particular, Utusan Malaysia in playing up my idiomatic use of the expression “like dog food”.

This brings to mind a similar response by senior UMNO Youth leaders and local media some years back when a foreign paper headlined a report with the expression “Mahathir remains top dog”. The idiomatic expression of course intended to say that Mahathir remains the top leader but amazingly, this expression was translated to mean that Mahathir was called “Ketua Anjing”.

After plenty of sabre rattling, the issue fell silent. I suspect someone must have told the UMNO Youth leaders and the local media the real meaning of the English expression “top dog”. I am sure Mahathir himself must have had a good laugh at that time.

Similarly, when I said “like dog food”, this was to express idiomatically that the food was lousy and not to mean that I was given dog food as Utusan is making it out to be. Idiomatic expressions are figures of speech and not meant to be taken literally.

Instead of wasting precious media space and resources on a relatively trivial issue, I wished the Minister and Utusan would focus on the injustices done to ISA detainees and their family members and look at ways of improving the treatment of detainees and the conditions of detention. I also wished that the Utusan would devote more attention to issues that really affect the Rakyat such as crime, security, inflation and the rising costs of living and the economic slowdown.

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Syed Hamid slams Murugiah

By Farrah Naz Karim

2008/09/25

PUTRAJAYA: An irate Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar slammed Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator T. Murugiah for implying that those in police custody were not properly fed. The home minister said: “Murugiah had better look after his own ministry.

“It is not his job … he is the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and if there is anything for him to gripe about, he should bring it to the attention of the prime minister,” Syed Hamid said when asked about a memorandum that Murugiah said he would submit to the ministry.

“I don’t answer to him,” said Syed Hamid, adding that the food served to detainees met international standards.

Murugiah, following allegations by Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok, of being fed food she described as “little better than dog food” during her recent detention under the Internal Security Act, had pledged to investigate the matter.

Murugiah, whose portfolio includes the Public Complaints Bureau, said the RM4.50 allocation provided by the police must be revised to suit the current cost of living. He had also met Kok to hear her grouses.

Murugiah said he would check the police station where Kok was held and also the restaurants where the food was purchased, before submitting his report to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Syed Hamid.

Murugiah pointed out that the Public Complaints Bureau was empowered to investigate complaints against civil servants and government agencies.

He had earlier said: “We want transparency. I’m quite serious about this and I don’t want this to be swept under the carpet” and that “detainees must be treated as human beings”.

He also expressed unhappiness that the news (of poor food) had gone international.

On his scope of power, Murugiah had said: “We don’t need to get permission from any ministry. We can just walk in, do the investigation and take immediate action.”

Last week, Kok drew attention to the food she was given during her seven-day detention at the Jalan Travers police station.
© Copyright 2008 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.

11 Responses to “Syed Hamid’s attack on Murugiah is most disappointing!”

  1. on 25 Sep 2008 at 17: 25.39 ventura

    I wonder what the journalism community as a whole would said about Utusan Malaysia in provoking the majority of the scenarios as a whole and therefore create a chain reaction of believe thus generate their belief to influence and savvy the new dynamism within the community that Utusan Malaysia try to project.

    The best to deal with this simple problem is the Editor himself, the key person that allow such as publishing to be corner and publish with a agenda of purpose derived out of it.

    The question is simple since the Editor does not feel any pressure because somebody in the authority sanction for it. As we know who generally own the publication.

    They understood the implication of their strategy and therefore they do the same by creating the same fear and attack on others newspaper and bloggers which is also same media stream of understanding. They know the effect of the news and influence within it. The silent sword that derived again the physical weapon. The weapon of silence mass destruction in the implication of simple words of writing.

    Winning of current politic race is just not merely an issue or many reactors of deeds to fight for the people but rather how good and tactically dwell within the intelligence of the issues and commune to fight to it base on the condition and perception of the norm behavior and understanding.

    What the understanding is that shout more and communicate frequently to the publics and community at large, solve their community issue and suffering that derive out of it.

    Just like God the father in treatment to all his children. If his children keep pray and asking for a need thorough many occasion and time ultimate they just change God himself. So does public service that was ordained by the people all for the sake of solving people. If the public voice and woes is not being taken into consideration thru many channel and mean of resolving the situation. Time will come at large by the Will of God; the respective leaders too will be replaced for a better anointed one to rise up and represent the total want and need of the community as a whole.

    So don’t worry about Syed Hamid, he will be replace too…

    I pray God have mercy in him!
    May God save Malaysia!!!

  2. on 25 Sep 2008 at 17: 30.31 ventura

    “Just like God the father in treatment to all his children. If his children keep praying and asking for a need thorough many occasion and need has not being answered time ultimate come they just change God himself.” -ventura

  3. on 25 Sep 2008 at 17: 31.55 Elwin Heng

    ‘They’
    :non-professional, no standard, or local standard!?

    My family and I, as smart consumers, will not spent one cent to ‘them’; only will choose and read news through ‘The Sun & M’sia Today’!

    Was my pleasure to have photos with you, Bar Council President and Penang CM @KL-&-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall…

    TQ.
    Warmest regards.

  4. on 25 Sep 2008 at 18: 04.53 Sa1nt_Jam3s

    It is indeed very sad for Malaysia if we have ministers who believe that they are God’s Gift to mankind..

    I think they will now scrutinise Mr. Muru’s personal records..

  5. on 25 Sep 2008 at 18: 09.09 Anak Sarawak

    YB Teresa

    Lets us not dwell the ‘Dog food’ issue anymore. As the Senator has cone forward to investigate,it shows that some form of attention has been given to. If the Bald Eagle wants to slam the senator,let him do so. I presume he has forgotten what the basic fundamentals of law has taught him. He may only be powerful, act and be heard within his present portfolio. Afterall, we the rakyat knows where justice lies.

    Continue your work for the rakyat. You have done much that cannot be disputed which he has not done except to send people he does like to the big house in Taiping.

  6. on 25 Sep 2008 at 19: 09.41 Freddy

    ahem..

    murugiah told syed botak to shut-up already lor!

  7. on 25 Sep 2008 at 20: 17.04 middleground

    YB Teresa, ignore Utusan Malaysia, just concentrate on law suit against this dishonorable news media.
    I am glad that the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister dept stood up to Botak Hamid. It is about time, otherwise, this hallow HM is beginning to behave like a self appointed Prime Minister.

  8. on 25 Sep 2008 at 20: 24.23 thamtk

    YB Teresa

    I am not disappointed with botak’s remarks. No point! I bet you he won’t be a bit concern on what he has said. This just confirmed he is brain dead and not able to think for the rakyat. He is not serving the country. To him he has only one master ……. sad to say, it is not the rakyat!!!

    But for you, continue to serve the rakyat and stay focus on your priorities. Forget about him as the more he opens his mouth, the rakyat can see clearly he possess a “hadicap”!

    P/S I remember our botak friend mentioned the food given is international standards. Next time, when you meet him, can you please ask him to define what is “international standard” for prison food?

  9. on 25 Sep 2008 at 20: 39.04 neutral

    bole blah la… dont act like you guys have sympathy. what an opportunist. dah salah, salah la…

  10. on 25 Sep 2008 at 21: 06.06 lee wee tak

    oh Elwin that was you having ur pix taken with Teresa that day…with the handphone camera right?

    Syed needs not attack his fellow BN comrade in the open like that. What’s eating him? This would show cracks within BN, no?

    The response from the honourable minister is “elegance silence” but he should be make his stand clear. Stand his ground or turn tail?

  11. on 25 Sep 2008 at 23: 41.00 new era

    Don’t worry Teresa, people like muruggiah, and Kudos to him too, for being “prihatin” towards public opinion because the last election has shown that MIC has to changed to be relevant to Malaysian which Samy has not been able to do. As for Syed Botak, well he is a hardline UMNO loyalist, (just can’t teach old dogs new tricks) so let him have his denial syndrome to the fullest slumber.