Aliran Monthly 26: 5 editor’s note

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am coverIn our cover story, Khoo Boo Teik explores the “tiff” between Mahathir and Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and looks at the undercurrents that led to the former premier outbursts. It’s all a far cry from the euphoria that greeted Abdullah’s ascension to the premier’s post. The dreams of that period have now been deflated, observes Angeline Loh.

Mahathir himself has complained that his views have been marginalised in the mainstream media. He probably chooses not to remember how the media were effectively muzzled during his tenure. But are the media any freer under Abdullah as some say?

Wong Kok Keong, in our back cover story, warns that we cannot depend merely on the personality of a leader to bring about fundamental reforms.  

To be sure, the Chinese-language media have been losing the relative autonomy they once enjoyed, says Lee Ooi, and they now have to contend with competition from Internet rivals. Meanwhile, harmless films such as the “The Last Communist” have been banned, notes CY, who did manage to catch the movie.

There are bigger challenges facing the media these days. Eric Loo says the fear syndrome in newsrooms is preventing the media from analysing fundamental issues such as poverty and environmental degradation. John Hilley, in turn, looks at how “media values” and “business ethics” – the whole corporate agenda – are obscuring the real issues of the day.

Meanwhile, the repercussions of some of Mahathir’s policies continue to haunt Malaysians. N S Wigneswaran writes to Minister Lim Keng Yaik, complaining about the deterioration of the postal services following privatisation.

On a brighter note, Yeoh Seng Guan, on a sojourn in Philippines, discovers that the spirit of dissent is well and truly alive among the tribal communities in the Cordillera region.

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