Ex-CM calls for more balance in news about China

Reuters pic.

KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee has called for more balanced coverage of news on China in the non-Chinese media in Malaysia.

One way to do it, he said, was for Chinese writers to get their views into the non-Chinese media so that a more balanced viewpoint could be presented.

He said they should not be content with seeing coverage of their activities only in the Chinese media.

Yong, who is an adviser to the Sabah Chinese Writers Society, said the escalating trade tensions between China and the United States had led to certain Western news organisations painting a negative picture of China.

Since local newspapers relied on foreign news agencies for foreign news, he said, articles biased against China were appearing almost daily in the English-language and Bahasa Malaysia media.

Yong said there was more balance in news about China’s good policies and actions in the Chinese media “but not much of these news and analyses can be found in the non-Chinese language media”.

“There is hardly any response in the English and Malay media to give more balance to the different views about what is happening in the world, especially about Asia and Southeast Asia and China,” he said in a statement.

“I’ve also come to realise that a lot of the things that are reported in the Chinese media are not known to the non-Chinese speaking world.”

Yong said most government officials read only the English-language and Bahasa Malaysia media.

“If they, as well as university professors, business and other influential people, don’t get the full picture of what is happening, then it is inevitable that some of them will get the wrong perspective of the global and regional scenarios.

“These influential people are the ones who shape Malaysia’s policies. If, due to lack of understanding, they reject good things like the Belt Road Initiative, then Malaysia will lose out.

“If they view the peaceful rise of China as a threat, then, instead of embracing the benefits, they set up roadblocks.

“I say this not because, as a Malaysian of Chinese ethnic origin, that I am inclined towards China’s policies. I say this because we have a duty to make sure that Malaysia and China can benefit from a win-win smart partnership,” he said.