Marina Mahathir would have often seen her father “viciously attacked” by haters.
Last week, however, was the first time ever that Mahathir saw his daughter attacked at a level “only reserved for people that one deeply hates”.
Indeed Marina suffered a sudden steep fall in public esteem after her “major factual mistake” made her vulnerable to criticisms.
And she has her Bangsa Malaysia cohort partly to thank.
Yesterday, Wong Chun Wai – the big boss of The Star – touched briefly on how that major factual mistake was left undetected in Marina’s column published in his newspaper.
According to Wong, “the copy clearer at The Star failed to notice the error”.
Wong added that under normal circumstances, there would have been a second line of defence. But the “editor who cleared her copy was probably not born yet [in 1979] to be able to spot Marina’s error”.
The above excuse provided by Wong is surely weak sauce. Any responsible editor not yet born in 1969, for instance, should nonetheless possess enough grasp of his work to sift any May 13 factual details.
Another example: Foreign correspondents not yet born in 1962 can still cite evidential facts of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which happened that year, when writing a comparison to the current Russia-Nato standoff in Ukraine.
BELOW: ‘The Star’ postures as Malaysian First moderates
As someone who has worked before in The Star, I can suggest a more persuasive reason why Marina’s major factual mistake was not caught by either the copy clearer or the editor.
What I understood from my (former) editorial floor colleagues back then assigned to process the drafts submitted by Marina, was that her articles were to be handled with kid gloves.
And they felt wary or were made to feel wary about changing a single comma. Certainly nobody would dream of daring to rejig (newspaper jargon) her raw copy (another jargon).
It just may not be a normal practice for the current crop of Star copyeditors to even harbour the thought of fact-checking Mighty Marina.
In this case, her entitled copy evidently sailed through without proper vetting because the ‘Mahathir’ name is after all a magic pass key.
If Marina’s major factual mistake had been corrected before Sunday Star went to print, she would have been spared the online roasting she subsequently received.
Marina was one of them
The Star is a Bangsa Malaysia paper, as is Malaysiakini.
Marina is a Bangsa Malaysia icon. They always coddle their own.
Which is how previously Marina managed to avert negative coverage (in journalism lingo, this protective bubble crafted by media is called “killing the story”) before her Jan 30 blowup.
As a parallel example, legacy media was awash with hymns and praises for Jill Biden.
The close relationship between Marina and her parents is well known.
Last week, Mahathir saw his beloved daughter being pounced upon — mainly because Marina’s “shoo” misattribution was so egregious that her position became indefensible.
Mahathir must be glad that the metaphorical sticks and stones thrown at Marina were only mere hurtful words.
In the final reckoning, Marina remains highly networked, socially privileged and insulated by her wealth. The same cannot be said for the Malay B40.
Sheraton Move. Why?
Mahathir was instrumental in kicking Harapan out from Putrajaya.
His Malay party Bersatu could not abide remaining a minute longer as DAP’s coalition partner.
My own hypothesis is Mahathir feared that with DAP in power (a condition stretching into the future), Chinese would bully Malays.
Mahathir‘s thinking has been consistent through the long decades.
In The Malay Dilemma, 1970, Mahathir was preoccupied with rich Chinese traders whom he thought resembled the predatory Jewish merchants.
At the Kongres Maruah Melayu, 2019, Mahathir’s preoccupation was still with Chinese shopkeepers — recalling his early memory of Alor Setar where “semua kedai-kedai lain dimiliki orang Cina”.
The passing of fifty years has not diminished Mahathir’s obsession with the economic status of Malays vis-a-vis Chinese.
One of his persistent tics is the pushy Chinese towkay. Seared into Mahathir’s soul is the humiliation of ‘Ahmad’, a quintessential Malay name, becoming the stand-in colloquial word for ‘driver’.
Mahathir does not tire either of old, dated anecdotes about the unseemly sight of a well-to-do Chinese being chauffeured about town by his Malay subordinate.
At the macro level, Mahathir finds the accumulation of capital in Chinese hands concerning. He appears to fear that Malay labour will be subjugated to the Chinese business class.
BELOW: Beating Malays into submission means making them admit they’re stupid and racist as per this political cartoon
Chinese bullying Malays, really?
I think so, yes.
In my opinion, DAP are super cyberbullies.
DAP leaders were bullying Najib’s three-month old cat. Chinese opposition supporters were bullying Najib’s pandas — see my blog post yesterday for details.
@hannahyeoh tweeted “How low class is our Prime Minister?” (below). Her insult was addressed to Najib two months before BN was successfully toppled.
Two weeks ago, Hannah’s buddy Syahredzan Johan – also pol-sec to Lim Kit Siang – also tweeted that Najib is “low class”.
On Jan 25, Syahredzan apologized to Najib after acknowledging that he (Melayu DAP poster boy) had deleted the tweet in which he labelled Najib “low class” — below.
@NajibRazak I commented on it. I have deleted the comment and my apologies to you for thinking that it was true.—
Syahredzan Johan (@syahredzan) January 25, 2022
I have long observed a pattern of DAP politicians calling Malay establishment figures “low class” or “no class”. This is par for the course.
Last week, it was the shock of Marina being called all kinds of names.
It has been open season on Najib since forever. The guns were also trained against whichever individual (wife, daughter, grandson) is linked to Najib as well as mockery rained on anything remotely connected to Najib, i.e. kittens, cats, pandas, the price of chicken …
The vilification of Najib is DAP’s favourite bloodsport.
On the other hand, Marina had been shielded from online abuse because Dapsters begitu teruja dengan Melayu liberal. This love affair lasted until the dam broke after her ‘shoo’ didn’t fit.
Two days ago, I explained why it is logical to deduce that the netizens attacking Marina are DAP supporters.
I’m now going to additionally conjecture that Marina’s cyber attackers are not Iban, Dayak, Bidayuh, Kadazan, Dusun, Murut or Lun Bawang.
Yeah, we’re in race politics territory.
So what do you think Mahathir is ruminating on with regard to his daughter dodging the ‘friendly’ fire of cyber bullets?
When he looks back on the Sheraton Move, do you believe that Mahathir will adjudge he did right or that he did wrong?