‘Out of a job’ Liew Chin Tong in demand on TV

DAP’s Liew Chin Tong says he wants BN leaders to join him on air so that there can be opinions from both sides. (Facebook pic)

KANGAR: DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong may be out of a job after his narrow loss to MCA’s Wee Ka Siong for the Ayer Hitam parliamentary seat in the 14th general election, but he isn’t out of demand – especially on TV.

“Suddenly I am on TV so often. So much more than in the last nine years. I am also speaking in forums quite a bit,” he told a forum at the Tuanku Syed Putra Jamallulail mosque here yesterday evening.

“I was a very active TV guest during Pak Lah’s time from 2005 to 2009,” he said, referring to former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

“I was appearing on talk show programmes on a weekly basis. But after Najib Razak took over, I only appeared on TV about four to five times in the last nine years. Suddenly I have appeared on TV four to five times in the last two weeks,” he laughed.

Liew said he had told those who invited him onto their programmes to extend similar invitations to leaders from Barisan Nasional (BN), so that they could have opinions from both sides.

However, he said the problem was that BN leaders did not want to come on TV, for several reasons.

“First of all, they have nothing to say and, secondly, they do not know how to defend Najib.

“I don’t want a situation where the media become too pro-government. I want a free media that operate based on facts and have robust debates,” he said.

He said it also depended on whether there was a genuine opposition prepared to engage in proper policy debates.

He reiterated that newly appointed Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, as well as Pakatan Harapan (PH) itself, were committed to media freedom and prepared to give space to the opposition.

“We have struggled for so many years. It is not our intention to create a one-party rule for ourselves. We want a democracy, and I think that is what Malaysians want too.”

Liew said Malaysians now knew that a change of government did not involve bloodshed, and did not come at a cost.

He added that in the future, if PH did not perform well, it could be voted out as well.

“I think that is good for Malaysia. That is what we should promote. But of course, you need the opposition to play a part, to be an effective opposition. They cannot be effective if they are still being burdened by Najib’s legacy.

“They have to dissociate themselves from him. Otherwise, they cannot defend Najib.

“They have to change to the level of (Umno Youth chief) Khairy Jamaluddin. The likes of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Hishammuddin Hussein have to retire. If not, they can never ever dissociate themselves from Najib.”

Liew, prior to the election, had been earmarked for the portfolio of transport minister if he won.

The post is now occupied by DAP national organising secretary and Seremban MP Anthony Loke.

While remaining coy on the role he would play in the PH government, Liew said as DAP’s political education director, he was travelling everywhere to meet other party leaders and members.