Intimidation will not break us

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JUNE 9 — Something must be right when what you write gets the attention it deserves.

It can be in the number of hits, likes, shares and retweets an article gets online to a problem raised getting the attention of the authorities.

As the oldest daily in the country, Malay Mail, which was first published in 1896, has been the voice of the people for over a century.

Solving bread and butter issues affecting men on the street is our forte.

From potholes being covered, street lights that finally shine brightly to stopping illegal sand-mining activities in residential areas, these are among the numerous woes the paper has helped resolved over the years.

And nothing is more satisfying for its journalists than receiving a thank you note for helping someone in need.

However, we have been penalised on many occasions. Our journalists have been harassed and even assaulted for speaking up for the people.

Last Tuesday, a group of thugs rounded up Malay Mail’s editor emeritus Frankie D’Cruz. Frankie, who was alone on his way for breakfast, was pulled into a backlane at a business centre in Taman Danau Desa where he was assaulted by five men.

They warned him to “stop ruining businesses by writing further reports”, believed to be related to several issues which we have been highlighting in the area and Old Klang Road in recent weeks.

The act showed the ugly side of Malaysians who would resort to scare tactics and violence when at fault.

Community leaders condemned the episode, saying it was not only an attack against the profession but also an attack against people — who have been raising their grouses through the paper.

Even authorities echoed similar sentiments as Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib assured action will be taken against those who broke the law.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

Thugs who attack those who speak for the community are just like keyboard warriors who make (read: type) antagonistic remarks while hiding behind the four walls of their homes.

They find an alter ego in the virtual world, hoping to make a statement.

Their aim is the same — to intimidate and blow hot air to their overly inflated ego while preying on those who they think are weak.

These gutless “thugs” will continue to invade our society and will go on doing what they do best — undermine and intimidate everyone that goes against their stand.

But we will not be cowed by their sheer ugliness.

This is beyond Frankie and Malay Mail. This is dedicated to journalists and media establishments who speak for the community.

Rest assured, we will continue going to the ground and be your voice as we are here to do our jobs. We are here to stay.

As our Friday frontpage headline read: “Thuggery won’t silence us!”

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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